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East coast death toll from Ida rises to at least 49 as long road to recovery begins

Tropical Weather New Jersey Flooding
Posted at 5:55 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 23:21:00-04

From Virginia to Connecticut, cleanup efforts are underway after the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused massive damage to the East Coast on Wednesday, claiming at least 49 lives.

Ida's East Coast impacts were most felt in New Jersey, where officials have confirmed the deaths of 25 people. Most of those deaths were attributed to flash flooding, which submerged cars on roadways or swept away motorists who were forced to exit their vehicles. Another six people are missing, according to the Associated Press.

According to NBC News, parts of the state received as much as nine inches of rain on Wednesday alone — more than double the average rainfall the area receives in a typical September.

In New York City, 11 people were killed on Wednesday when floodwaters rushed into basement apartments. Flooding also turned local highways into rivers, forcing commuters to abandon cars.

The city's aging subway system — parts of which were sorely in need of renovations prior to Wednesday's storms — is struggling to return to full service after social media videos showed significant flooding in stations and trains. The New York Times reported Friday that most lines were still experiencing delays, while others were experiencing some suspended service.

In the Philadelphia area, nearly 16,000 customers are still without electricity, according to energy company PECO. Ida's remnants spawned tornadoes in the region that damaged homes, uprooted trees and downed power lines.

In remarks from the White House on Thursday, Biden pledged that the federal government would do whatever it could to assist those in the region to help them recover from the storm.

"We're all in this together. The nation is here to help," Biden said.

Biden also noted Ida was "yet another reminder that these extreme storms from climate change are here."

He called on Congress to pass his infrastructure and budget packages, which will take steps to reduce carbon emissions and improve infrastructure for more extreme storms in the future.

On Friday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state had secured up to $5 million in federal disaster relief funding following Biden's approval earlier this week.