Sixteen years to the day after Katrina passed, another extremely powerful hurricane hit Louisiana on Sunday, August 29. Shortly before noon, Ida, Category 4, made landfall near Port Fourchon, south of New Orleans, with winds reaching 240 km / h. It has since lost intensity to fall back to category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale – which has 5 -, according to the US meteorological services, and was to continue its course north-east on Monday.
At least one was killed in his passage, with a man killed in Prairieville, southeast of Baton Rouge, after a tree fell on his house. Images from the United States show deserted streets, swept by particularly violent gusts of wind and heavy rains. Buildings have had their roofs ripped off and in some places the course of the Mississippi River has even partially reversed. New Orleans is also completely without electricity, with nearly a million homes being without power across Louisiana. Flash flood risk alerts have been issued in several towns.
While the damage could turn out to be catastrophic, its true extent is still impossible to assess. The mayor of Jean Lafitte said his village had been “Totally devastated », And that the help could not reach a few hundred people stuck in their homes. “We have already suffered from floods. We have already suffered storms. But I have never seen water like this in my life ”, Tim Kerner told the American channel CNN. “There is no doubt that the next few days and weeks will be extremely difficult. Once the hurricane has passed, you must prepare to stay in the shelter where you are for at least seventy-two hours ”, also warned the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards.
By gaining in intensity very quickly, Ida left only a little time for the populations to take shelter. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was unable to order a mandatory evacuation and simply urged residents to voluntarily leave. Those who remained were asked to take a seat inside and follow the instructions of the authorities.
Critical situation in hospitals
In the parish of Lafourche, near where Ida made landfall, several hospitals reported extensive damage to their roofs. The situation could be particularly critical in hospitals, whose services are full due to Covid-19. Louisiana, where the number of people vaccinated remains low, has nearly 2,700 hospital patients, and the number of new cases daily has skyrocketed with the Delta variant.
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