Louisiana continued Tuesday to make the tragic toll of the passage of Hurricane Ida. Four deaths have been confirmed and rescuers have started searching for those isolated by the giant storm. A man is also missing, after being apparently killed by an alligator.
Above all, the receding waters begin to reveal the extent of the damage along the American coast of the Gulf of Mexico, exactly sixteen years after Katrina which had claimed more than 1,800 victims. In New Orleans, the city’s mayor, LaToya Cantrell, issued an order on Tuesday evening imposing an overnight curfew. Most of the city is in fact still without electricity.
Images of people pulled from flooded cars and destroyed homes are circulating on social media, but damage to New Orleans itself has remained limited. A person was killed by a fall from a tree in Prairieville. A second died while trying to drive in flood waters 95 kilometers southeast of New Orleans, authorities said.
According to outage tracking site PowerOutage.us, Ida has left more than one million properties in Louisiana without power. Electricity was still not restored in most of them Tuesday evening. Electricity supplier Entergy announced Tuesday morning that electricity could be restored as early as Wednesday, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The first to benefit will likely be hospitals, many of which have to cope with an influx of Covid-19 patients, wastewater treatment plants and water treatment centers.
The toll should grow heavier
In addition, Ida did not touch only Louisiana. In Mississippi, where torrential rains fell, a road collapse left two people dead and ten injured, three of them in critical condition, police said. The death toll is expected to rise further, Louisiana Deputy Governor Billy Nungesser warned on Tuesday, particularly in the coastal areas directly affected.
President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster for Louisiana and Mississippi, giving states access to federal aid. But it may be necessary to increase this list. Ida, now a tropical depression, is now moving northeast, threatening the Tennessee and Ohio valleys.