Biden promises huge federal response “as long as it takes”

Biden promises huge federal response

Dartanian Stovall looks at the house that collapsed with her during the height of Hurricane Ida on August 30, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Michael DeMocker | USA Today Network via Reuters

WASHINGTON – The federal government is doing everything in its power to help the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi recover from Hurricane Ida, President Joe Biden told state governors on Monday.

“We’re here to help you get back on your feet,” Biden said during a virtual White House briefing with Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, Republican Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and others.

The storm made landfall as a powerful Category 4 hurricane on Sunday, causing power outages for 2 million people in Louisiana and Mississippi. On Monday morning, one of them had died in the storm. Edwards told MSNBC he expects that number to increase dramatically.

The massive federal response to the storm reinforces one of the pillars of Biden’s approach to the presidency: his belief that the government is uniquely equipped to help millions of people.

“The people of Louisiana and Mississippi are resilient, but at times like these, we can see the power of government to meet the needs of the people and to respond to the people, if the government is prepared to respond. It’s our job, ”Biden said. he said .

Biden said 5,000 National Guardsmen have been activated in the southeast and more than 25,000 crews of electricians and linemen from 30 states “are stepping forward to support you.”

To help assess damage to power lines, Biden said he’s asked the Federal Aviation Administration to work with power companies to deploy surveillance drones to affected areas.

Biden has authorized the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide any satellite imagery that can help assess the damage.

To help more people access mobile phone service, Biden said the Federal Communications Commission will launch a framework agreement for cooperation between mobile phone operators, so people can use roaming services from anywhere. which company.

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Biden was joined at the briefing by former Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, who resigned from the House in January to join the Biden administration as director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement.

The president asked governors to go directly to Richmond if they needed anything from the White House.

Ida first made landfall over Port Fourchon, Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph, one of the most severe storms to hit the region since Hurricane Katrina. Who came to this area 16 years ago.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Dean Criswell was also on screen at the White House meeting, as was Cynthia Lee Sheng, president of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana.

Reeves and Edwards both thanked Biden for signing federal emergency declarations before landing for their states, freeing up federal money and resources to respond to the emergency.

“We provide all the help you need,” Biden said. “We will stay with you and the people of the Gulf as long as it takes time to recover. “

Authorities downgraded Ida to a tropical storm on Monday as it headed inland, where heavy rains, tornadoes and severe flooding were likely as it made its way into the Tennessee Valley and the middle of the Atlantic later this week.

The extreme south of Mississippi, in southeast Louisiana, can receive a total of 24 inches of rain.

It was Biden’s second meeting in four days with governors of storm-hit states. On Friday, he virtually met Edwards, Reeve, and Kay Ivey of the GOP Alabama Gov.

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