WASHINGTON-The White House said on Wednesday that President Joe Biden will visit Louisiana on Friday to investigate the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and talk to local and state leaders. Biden will also speak on Thursday, outlining his government’s response to the storm.
Ada was the fifth largest storm to hit Louisiana on Sunday, with a maximum wind speed of 150 mph (240 km/h), which could cause tens of billions of dollars in floods, wind, and other losses, including damage to the power grid.
After Ida tore down a major transmission tower and destroyed thousands of miles of lines and hundreds of substations, more than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi were cut off. For a time, New Orleans plunged into total darkness. On Wednesday, the city began to restore electricity.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that if Biden’s attendance would affect rescue efforts, he “will definitely not” visit Louisiana.
The governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, stated that this visit is crucial for the president to understand the destruction by witnessing the widespread destruction with his own eyes.
“Nothing is more like a personal visit,” Edwards told reporters after a briefing with local elected officials in Jefferson Parish on Wednesday, who was directly hit by Ada. “When you see it with your own eyes, it will be more noticeable.”
When asked what type of help he intends to request from Biden, Edwards said: “Frankly, this list will be very, very long.” But he said that the priority will be a housing plan to help people rebuild.
The White House stated that Biden regularly receives the latest news about the storm and its aftermath. He held several conference calls with the governor and local officials to discuss preparations and needs after the storm, and received a briefing from FEMA Director Deanne Criswell.
Before the storm, FEMA had delivered a large amount of supplies to the area, including generators, tarps and other materials, and the Federal Response Team was conducting search and rescue work.
The authorities attributed at least six deaths to the storm.
Biden’s trip to the Gulf region on Friday will end the president’s difficult journey. He is responsible for overseeing the chaotic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of contact with Afghanistan. These included the deaths of 13 American soldiers who helped evacuate more than 120,000 Americans, Afghan allies, and other American soldiers who fled life under Taliban rule.
When Ada landed on the Gulf Coast on Sunday, Biden was at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to witness the return of the remains of 13 American soldiers killed in a suicide bombing attack at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan last week. Evacuation is in progress.