Houma, Los Angeles. -Hurricane Ida’s squally wind whizzed past, with only a tent and tarp as a shelter, Angelique Hebert clutched her husband tightly under the bridge where the couple sought refuge.
“We will die in this hurricane,” Angelik told him. But he said, “Hold on, baby. It will be over.”
So she persevered, she prayed.
The couple did not want to survive a major hurricane exposed to the natural environment.
They are homeless and have little choice in the bays and small communities of southern Louisiana, and they say they can’t get rid of Ida’s road at all. Without a car, they walked more than 24 kilometers from the small coastal village of Montgut to Houma, trying to catch the evacuation bus. They missed it.
Although the parish of southern Louisiana has mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders, many residents who want to flee have to fend for themselves because this is the fifth strongest hurricane in history to hit the continental United States and ravage Louisiana. For the homeless, fixed-income or low-income people, and others in the most vulnerable groups in the state, staying is not an option, but the only option.
Craig Colten, an emeritus professor at Louisiana State University, said: “People will say,’Well, I’m just going to get through it,’” Louisiana State University studies community resilience and Adaptation to the changing environment along the coast of Annan. “But many times, people will run away because they have no way to escape, which to a large extent means a car and enough money to buy gasoline.”
Experts have long worried that the increase in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes—especially in Louisiana, where many residents return even after a major storm—puts people with lower incomes at higher risk. Even those who can gather resources to leave temporarily, often return to find damaged or destroyed houses, jobs that no longer exist, and have little immediate assistance.
“People who pay close attention to the stock issue are really worried,” Colten said. He is particularly worried that Ida will fall at the end of the month like Hurricane Katrina, because those who rely on retirement or government checks have already used most of their money.
He said: “Their funds are almost exhausted, these people are living a living, so they have no choice but to stay.” “They can’t go to the motel room.
They can’t even afford bus tickets. …Many of them have sickly relatives or family members, and they have pets. “
Heberts used a two-person yurt to settle on a concrete pillar under a bridge across an inland waterway, hoping to do the best. The tent collapsed and the rain poured down.
“This is the scariest thing I have ever experienced,” said 53-year-old Angelique Herbert. Wilfred Herbert said he wanted to do more to protect his wife, but he could not.
After the storm passed, the couple stayed in the shelter, but they did not know what would happen next. When it broke, they were begging along a road with a sign hanging on it: “The hurricane took everything away.”
Also in Houma, which was severely affected, the mothers of two 26-year-old Kaylee Ordoyne said her family was unable to evacuate. Her truck-the only vehicle in the family-broke down a few days before the storm. She spent the last 30 dollars on water, juice, canned pasta and soup, bread and sandwich meat. They left the trailer behind and hid in the apartment of relatives.
By Monday morning, that apartment will be in ruins.
When the storm swept across the roof, Odoin sang her 2 and 4 year old children twinkle Twinkle Little Star And whispering nursery rhymes. The ceiling collapsed, and they were trapped in a corner of the kitchen, with the water reaching their ankles.
“If I have the money to evacuate, I will—for my children,” Odoin said. “I cried once, and then no matter how much I wanted to collapse, I had to hold back my tears.”
They survived, but the family troubles are far from over. The $11,000 trailer Ordoyne bought with her savings was destroyed by the storm. She only lived there for two months without insurance. She also has no salary-she reviews and approves a phone application from a wireless company, a job she can’t do without internet or electricity.
“I am very worried about what will happen next,” she said.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell (LaToya Cantrell) said that about half of the population was evacuated before Ada. The other half-200,000 people-still exist. For them and those who returned to cities with broken power grids, officials opened cooling stations and distributed food on Wednesday.
At one center, Barbara Bradie, a work-from-home agent at Walgreens, and Rita Richardson, a research coordinator at Tulane Medical Center, enjoyed their hot meal: pork, peas, and bread. They said they could not evacuate; neither of them had cars.
Richardson said that she was evacuated once during Hurricane Gustav in 2008: “I stayed outside the city for 10 days and when I got home I was already bankrupt. …I would rather stay here to deal with it.”
Brady added: “People think you just get up and go. You have to have a car, you have to refuel the car, you have to have a hotel.”
After Hurricane Katrina, the city worked with a non-profit organization to develop an “Urban Assisted Evacuation Plan,” where people will gather at designated community pick-up points — marked with a 12-foot stainless steel sculpture — and take a shuttle bus to shelter Place.
But in Ida—a storm intensified so fast that the mayor said forced evacuation was impossible—the system was not used, Corten said.
Even for families that can be evacuated, the economic impact will be long-lasting and painful. Some people spend the last money to keep their families safe.
Lesl Bell and her husband lived on their salary before they tested positive for COVID-19 a month ago. They had to stay at home and soon defaulted on bills. Then Ada hit.
“We can’t work for a whole month, now?” Bell said.
They packed their car and left a hotel in Florida with their 3-year-old child and the remaining cash. They are afraid of staying in Louisiana. Bell is pregnant and she is worried about the safety of their toddler.
But the family started to run out of money and was forced to drive home on Tuesday, even though officials advised people to stay away.
“When the cheapest hotel room is almost $200 a night, they tell you not to go out, which is crazy,” she said. “How can we afford to go out for such a long time?”