Hurricane Ida leaves a trail of destruction in the US state of Louisiana. Images show how streets and houses were completely flooded and collapsed. Governor John Bel Edwards calls the devastation Ida has already wrought “catastrophic.”
Ida made landfall near the city of New Orleans on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane (on a scale of five). Wind speeds of 240 kilometers per hour were recorded.
In the meantime, the hurricane has weakened to category one. The wind is considerably less, but a lot of rain is still expected and this could bring further flooding. Up to 500 liters per square meter is expected in some places. By way of comparison: in the Belgian Ardennes, 270 liters per square meter fell in July in the most affected place.
Images from the affected area (see also the photos below) meanwhile show the damage that Ida has already done and it is impressive. More than a million homes on the US South Coast are without power. According to energy company Entergy, just mapping the damage to the network will take days. Blocked roads, flooding and persistent bad weather make it particularly difficult to reach rural areas.
According to Governor Edwards, more than 25,000 technicians are on hand to repair the network. Hospitals are a priority, he told CNN. “First of all, we need our hospitals more than anything else.” Four hospitals in the state have been evacuated because they have no power. Energy company Entergy said it would use drones, boats and all-terrain vehicles for the work, among other things. The power outage also threatens the water supply, partly because some of the water treatment plants run on electricity.
As far as is known, two people have been killed in the storm so far. In the town of Prairieville, someone was hit by a falling tree. In New Orleans, someone was killed trying to drive down a flooded street. Edwards fears the death toll will rise ‘significantly’. Reconstruction could take months, he said.
15 billion dollars
The hurricane could cost insurers at least $15 billion in damage. But analysts do not rule out the possibility that the costs for insurers could rise to 20 billion dollars or even more.
These are still early estimates and with past hurricanes such as Katrina in 2005, the true extent of the damage only became clear after days. Hurricanes also often cause a lot of damage inland.
“The wind continues to blow hard and water levels are rising,” said an analyst from investment bank RBC Capital Markets. “It will take some time before we have a complete picture of the insured damage. At the moment we are not counting on a ‘worst case loss’, but on a significant total.”
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