Hundreds of thousands of Louisians were left in the heat with no electricity, no tap water and very limited amounts of gasoline after Hurricane Ida.
Long lines of residents could be seen walking to the few gas stations that had fuel and generator power to pump. Neighbors were forced to share generators and borrow buckets of pool water for bathing or flushing toilets, while rotting food had to be removed from de-energized refrigerators.
Unable to give a date when life could return to normal, Governor John Bel Edwards stated, “We have a lot of work to do and no one is under the illusion that this will be a short process.”
Mr. Edwards added that state officials were working to set up the distribution of food, water and ice.
The governor’s office also said discussions were ongoing about setting up cooling stations and places where oxygen-hungry people could plug their machines in, but officials had no details on when they could be operational.
New Orleans officials, meanwhile, announced seven places in the city where people could get a meal and sit in air conditioning.
The city also used 70 transit buses as refrigeration points and will set up drive-through distribution points for food, water and ice on Wednesday, according to Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Ms. Cantrell also ordered a nightly curfew Tuesday, calling it an attempt to prevent crime after Hurricane Ida devastated the electricity system and left the city in the dark.
The mayor also said she expected the main electricity supplier Entergy to be able to provide electricity to the city by Wednesday evening, but stressed that it would not mean a quick city-wide restoration.
Entergy is considering two options to “begin powering critical infrastructure in the region such as hospitals, nursing homes and first responders,” the company said in a press release.
Ms. Cantrell admitted the frustration in the coming days and said at a press conference: “We know it’s hot. We know we have no power and that remains a priority. “
More than a million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi were without power when Ida slammed the power grid at 250 mph on Sunday.
An estimated 25,000 utility workers are involved in restoring electricity, but officials said it could take weeks.
Since water treatment plants were inundated by floods or paralyzed by power outages, there was also a shortage of drinking water in some places.
According to federal officials, around 441,000 people had no water in the meantime, and another 319,000 were under recommendations for cooking water.
So far, the death toll in Louisiana and Mississippi has risen to at least four, including two people killed Monday night when seven vehicles crashed into a 20-foot hole near Lucedale, Mississippi. The death toll is expected to rise in the coming days.
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