US: Hurricane Ida kills 1; power outage across New Orleans
Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday in the American state of Louisiana, bringing gusty winds and continuous downpour. At least one person died after being injured from a fallen tree in Prairieville, officials said, adding there was a power outage in New Orleans, the state's most populous city. Ida, a "Category 4" storm, is one of the most powerful to hit the United States.
The first fatality attributed to the hurricane was a 60-year-old man, who had a tree fall on his house, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. Meanwhile, the power loss in New Orleans was due to "catastrophic transmission damage" from the storm. People and offices are currently relying on generators as the only source of power, as per the electricity provider there.
US President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Louisiana, releasing more funds to aid rescue operations. "Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster," the White House said on Sunday.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Ida could be the fiercest storm to hit the southern state since the 1850s. The ongoing storm coincided with the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a deadly Category 5 storm that had rattled Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years earlier, killing more than 1,800 people. Notably, Ida has now been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, the Associated Press reported.
Separately, partial generator failure at a Louisiana hospital on Sunday led to doctors and nurses rushing to keep helping patients with oxygen supply. Since mechanical ventilation was no longer available, hospital staff manually pushed air in out of patients' lungs at the Thibodaux Regional Health System. Those patients were later shifted to another floor, officials at the Louisiana Department of Health said.
Nearly 95% of the entire US oil and gas production went offline in the Gulf of Mexico due to Ida. Further, many of Louisiana's refining and petrochemical plants were ordered shut ahead of the storm.