At least 2 dead as powerful Ida wreaks havoc across U.S. Louisiana

Source: Xinhua| 2021-08-31 15:38:22|Editor: huaxia
Video PlayerClose

HOUSTON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- At least two people have been confirmed dead as of Monday night, about 36 hours after Hurricane Ida's powerful landfall hit southern U.S. state Louisiana.

Ida was downgraded to a tropical depression Monday afternoon and moved inland with torrential rain, leaving extensive damage across the coastal state.

The two victims were reportedly a man drowned in his car after trying to drive through floodwater in Louisiana's biggest city New Orleans and a 60-year-old person hit by a tree falling on his home near Baton Rouge, the state's capital city.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said earlier on Monday that he "fully expects" the death toll would jump as search and rescue efforts get underway.

At least 671 stranded people in Ida-hit areas had been rescued by Monday afternoon, Edwards said later in the day.

Four Louisiana hospitals were damaged and 39 medical facilities were operating on generator power, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

More than 1 million customers in Louisiana and over 67,000 more in Mississippi were without power on Monday night, including residents in the whole city of New Orleans, according to PowerOutage.US, a project which tracks power outrages across the United States.

The Jefferson Parish emergency management director Joe Valiente told National Public Radio on Monday it will take at least six weeks to restore electricity to a large section of Louisiana's coast.

"Damage is incredible," Valiente said. "There are about 10 parishes that the electrical grids are completely collapsed and damaged, smashed, out -- however you want to put it."

Power company Entergy, Louisiana's biggest electricity provider, said Monday that more than 2,000 miles of transmission lines were out of service, along with 216 substations.

"I can't tell you when the power is going to be restored. I can't tell you when all the debris is going to be cleaned up and repairs made," the governor told a news conference on Monday, promising to work hard to help power grid recover.

"The full extent of damage is yet to be seen," Louisiana state police said in a Facebook post on Monday, noting that search and rescue workers are still not able to access certain impacted areas.

Ida landed on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's destructive strike, tying with 2020's Hurricane Laura and the Last Island Hurricane of 1856 as the strongest ever to hit Louisiana. Enditem