President Joe Biden pledged to ensure a full recovery for areas hit by Hurricane Ida as the Category 4 storm made landfall in Louisiana.
“We’re going to be here to help the Gulf region get back on its feet as quickly as possible, as long as it takes,” Biden said Sunday during a visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters.
With a devastating storm surge threatening mass flooding, power outages and destruction in New Orleans, Biden stopped at the National Response Coordination Center after returning to Washington from a trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to honor 13 U.S. service members killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul.
For the White House, the storm is coinciding with the final days of the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan amid what the president has described as acute and ongoing threats of additional terror attacks.
Biden predicted the hurricane could knock out power for “a long time” with outages stretching “weeks for some places.”
“As soon as the storm passes, we’re going to put the country’s full might behind the rescue and recovery,” he said.
Biden said he couldn’t remember a time when the federal government and states had coordinated more closely ahead of a natural disaster. FEMA prepositioned 2.5 million meals and 3 million liters of water ahead of the storm, he said.
The federal government has deployed 16 urban search and rescue teams and 200 ambulances to the region, FEMA spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg said.
Biden encouraged those within the path of the storm to heed directions from local authorities.
“God willing, we’ll get through this sooner than later,” he said. “But don’t kid yourself: this is going to take a lot of resources, a little bit of luck, and as my grandfather would say, the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbors.”
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