This afternoon, President Biden convened a call with the Governors of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall, and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Rodriguez to discuss ongoing preparations for Hurricane Ida, which is projected to strengthen to a Category 4 Hurricane. Ida is expected to make landfall on the Gulf Coast as a dangerous Major Hurricane on Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall on the Gulf Coast. Earlier this afternoon, the President approved an Emergency Declaration for the State of Louisiana.
The President and the Governors talked about the potential impacts of Ida, and the concerns about life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall, and hurricane-force winds. They discussed the actions the States are taking to pre-position resources and initiate evacuation operations, including moving nursing home residents out of harm’s way. Governor Edwards spoke of his commitment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in shelters through the use of masks, rapid testing, and social distancing. The President emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated. They discussed the need for residents in the storm’s path to prepare now for significant impacts given the intensity of the storm and the expected rainfall and storm surge, including by visiting Ready.gov and listening to local officials’ guidance.
FEMA is pre-positioning food, water, generators, and other resources in the region. It has more than 2,000 personnel in the affected region and has activated another 500 to provide response support. Urban Search and Rescue teams and additional ambulances are deploying to the region, and the U.S. Coast Guard is prepositioning aircraft and vessels for deep water search and rescue efforts. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has deployed a Power Restoration Team to Alexandria, Louisiana in anticipation of widespread power outages. The President described the mutual assistance that is being provided by numerous electric utilities from outside the storm’s path, which involves the staging of more than 11,000 line and tree crews and other equipment to support the restoration of power.
On the call, the President made clear that impacted communities will have the full support of the Federal government to augment state and local emergency response efforts.
The President and his team were joined on the call by:
- Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards
- Alabama Governor Kay Ivey
- Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves