Laplace, Louisiana-The huge tree was knocked to the side. The house was sealed with plywood. Outdated street signs.
Less than a week after Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast, President Joe Biden walked on a street in a hard-hit area in Louisiana on Friday and told local residents, “I know you are hurting, and I know you are hurting.”
Biden promised to provide strong federal assistance to get people to stand up again, and said that the government has distributed $100 million directly to individuals in the state through a check of $500, providing them with the first batch of critical assistance. He said that many people don’t know what help they can get because they don’t have access to mobile phone services.
The residents welcomed Biden’s arrival, and one of them drew a sign with his surname and a heart on the “i”. They smiled and posed for selfies.
More formally, Biden met with state and local officials in Laplace, a community between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. It suffered severe wind and water damage and the roof was cut off. , The houses were flooded.
“I promise we will support you,” Biden said.
He also visited the hardest-hit areas such as Lafitte, Grand Island, Port Forchon, and the Diocese of La Forche. The president of the diocese, Archie Chaisson, said that 25% of the houses in his 100,000 community had disappeared or suffered. Catastrophic destruction.
The president later met in private with Governor John Bell Edwards, House Republican whip Steve Scarlis from Louisiana, and local officials including Chai Song.
Even when Air Force One approached New Orleans, the damage was obvious, with uprooted trees and the blue tarps covering the ruined house coming into view. The road to Laplace shows electric wooden poles protruding from the ground at strange angles.
For a long time, visiting the scene of natural disasters in person has always been a characteristic of the President of the United States. It is a moment of sympathy and public leadership during a crisis. They also have the opportunity to be suspended from the political snipers that often dominate Washington, whether temporarily.
Biden, wearing shirt sleeves and boots, was welcomed by Democrat Edwards at the airport. Several Republicans, including Senator Bill Cassidy and Rep. Scarlis, were also present.
Edwards said Biden was “a great partner” and added that he intends to continue to seek help until the president refuses.
After Ida, Biden renewed his attention to the threat of climate change and the prospect of visiting disaster areas that may become a more routine feature of the presidency.The storm caused at least 14 deaths in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, and at least 48 deaths in the northeastern United States
The President pointed out that this destruction is to call on the public to have greater determination to deal with climate change. His $1 trillion in infrastructure legislation is designed to ensure that vital networks that connect cities and states and the entire country can withstand floods, cyclones, and destruction caused by increasingly dangerous weather.
At a briefing held with local officials on Friday, Biden insisted on passing the infrastructure bill, and subsequent broader measures will prepare the country.
Biden said: “In my opinion, if we rebuild, rebuild in a better way, we can save our voters a lot of money and save our voters a lot of pain.” “I realize I am selling.”
Senator Cassidy later said on Twitter that in his conversation with Biden, “We talked about the need for resilience. We agreed that burying electrical wires in the ground can avoid all this. There are billions in the infrastructure bill. Used for grid resilience.”
Past presidents were partially defined in terms of how they handled such crises.
Donald Trump, seemingly casual, threw tissues at people in Puerto Rico after the hurricane, which aroused the contempt of critics, but did little harm to his political status. In 2012, after Superstorm Sandy, Barack Obama embraced Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, as a brief relief of partisan tensions that threatened the economy. George W. Bush fell out of favor after a terrible and unprepared response to Hurricane Katrina that swept New Orleans in 2005.
Scientists say that climate change has increased the frequency of extreme weather events, such as large tropical storms, and droughts and heat waves that create conditions for large-scale wildfires. US meteorological officials recently reported that July 2021 was the hottest month on record in 142 years.
Part of Biden’s nearly eight-month presidency has been shaped by permanent crises. After a cold winter storm caused the state’s power grid to fail, the president traveled to Texas in February and paid close attention to wildfires in the western states.
In addition to natural disasters, the president must also deal with many other challenges. After the longest war in American history ended a few days ago, he was looking for a way to save 100-200 Americans trapped in Afghanistan. Only a few months after he declared independence from the disease during a celebration on the White House lawn on July 4, he also faced the delta variant of the coronavirus that plunged the country into an uncertain fall.
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. On Wednesday, the remnants of the storm brought devastating rainfall to parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, causing severe damage to major cities.
Associated Press writer Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Christina Larson and Darlene Superville in Washington for this report Made a contribution.