President Biden convened a virtual meeting today with the Governors of Louisiana and Mississippi and mayors from cities and parishes most impacted by Hurricane Ida to receive an update on the storm’s impacts, and to discuss how the Federal Government can provide assistance. Joining the President at the meeting were Senior Advisor and Director of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Rodriguez, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. The President made clear State and local officials have the full support of the Federal Government, and named Richmond as his Administration’s direct line for Gulf Coast State and local officials throughout the recovery.
President Biden highlighted how this will be a whole-of-government and whole-of-community response and recovery effort, and we are closely coordinating with State and local officials every step of the way. He talked about how the Administration is supporting efforts to get electricity and transmission lines back up and running, and how there are more than 25,000 line and tree crews from at least 30 States en route to help local utilities begin restoration work. The President announced that he has asked the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to immediately make available satellite imagery, and he asked the Federal Aviation Administration to work with Louisiana and Mississippi to authorize the use of surveillance drones to help State and local governments assess the damage from Hurricane Ida. He also spoke about Federal efforts to assist cellular customers as work continues to restore cellular service in impacted areas.
The Biden Administration is working with its Federal, State and local partners as well as non-governmental agencies to support the needs of areas affected by Ida. The President approved a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Louisiana and a pre-disaster Emergency Declaration for the State of Mississippi. More than 3,600 FEMA employees are deployed to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, and FEMA staged more than 3.4 million meals, millions of liters of water, more than 35,700 tarps, and roughly 200 generators in the region in advance of the storm. Hundreds of additional ambulances and air ambulances have been moved into the area. Seven FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams and 17 Urban Search and Rescue teams consisting of more than 950 personnel have been activated. Dozens of shelters remain open in affected areas. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is deploying a 250-bed Federal medical shelter to Alexandria, Louisiana. The U.S. Coast Guard has 27 rotary or fixed wing aircraft, and the Department of Defense has 60 high water vehicles and 14 rotary wing aircraft prepositioned to assist with search and rescue. Governors have activated more than 5,200 National Guard personnel in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama to support response efforts. The Army Corps of Engineers has activated planning and response teams for debris removal, temporary roofing, and temporary housing.
Joining the President and his team virtually at the meeting were:
- Governor John Bel Edwards
- New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell
- Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome
- Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng
- Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory
- Governor Tate Reeves
- Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes
- Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba