Biden surveys Ida aftermath in New York and New Jersey

By Melissa Mahtani and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 7:39 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021
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7:35 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

Biden visited New Jersey and New York today. Here's what to know about the aftermath of Ida tonight.

President Joe Biden hugs a person as he tours a neighborhood impacted by Hurricane Ida, on Tuesday, September 7 in Manville, New Jersey.
President Joe Biden hugs a person as he tours a neighborhood impacted by Hurricane Ida, on Tuesday, September 7 in Manville, New Jersey. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Today, President Biden traveled to Manville, New Jersey, and Queens, New York, today to survey storm damage from Ida. He met with families, first responders and local officials in the Northeast, days after he visited Louisiana — where the storm first made land fall before traveling northeastward — on Friday.

In addition to the 22 Ida-related deaths in Louisiana, there have been at least 52 storm-related deaths in the Northeast, spanning Connecticut, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Here's what to know tonight:

Louisiana

  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said five parishes across the state still have more than 95% of customers without power following Hurricane Ida. That accounts for more than 430,000 people as of Tuesday afternoon.
  • Some of the areas of the state hit hardest by Ida could be looking at more than three weeks before power is restored, CNN has reported.
  • The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says "four people have died of carbon monoxide poisoning and 141 people have been treated for inhalation of the deadly, odorless gas since Hurricane Ida."

Northeast

  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the post-Ida storm damage in Queens, New York, a “cataclysmic weather event," adding the recovery effort will continue and that state and local officials are “in this for the long haul” to get support for residents.
  • Queens Borough President Donovan Richards says he wanted Biden on his visit “to see the devastation first hand, the pain that many of our residents are facing right here in Queens county" and for the federal government to "deliver" on federal intervention to update infrastructure.
  • Mamaroneck, New York, Mayor Tom Murphy said some homes in the town were submerged in 12 feet of floodwater and hundreds of people remain displaced from their homes and are currently staying in shelters. 
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said it will take "months more likely than weeks" to rebuild in the state.

President Biden

  • In remarks today, Biden warned that the current spate of extreme weather events requires immediate intervention, making a continued pitch for his sweeping infrastructure plan. The President said he asked local officials how they plan to rebuild in the wake of these storms.
  • Biden urged people to start taking the threat of climate change seriously and listen to the experts who say this is a "code red" situation, saying the US and the rest of the world are "in peril."
  • The Biden administration called on Congress to appropriate more than $14 billion to aid with recovery and “unmet needs” from recent natural disasters, including wildfires and storms, plus at least $10 billion to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
7:28 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

Nurses detail horrific conditions at warehouse that nursing facilities evacuated to during Hurricane Ida

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Two nurses who work at facilities that evacuated to a Independence, Louisiana, warehouse say some health care workers spent days trying to keep patients alive while enduring supply shortages, electricity cuts and ​what they describe as a negligent nursing home administration. ​

​The facility administrator "told us we were going to a medical facility," one nurse told CNN. "They told us we were going to sister facilities out of town. They at no time told us they were going to a warehouse."

The nurse remembers the administrator describing the warehouse as "a medical facility in Independence."

CNN is not naming the nurse, or their facility, because they were not authorized to speak to the press and were fearful they would lose their job.

"We were put in a situation that we did not know, but we handled it," the nurse said.

Natalie Henderson, a nurse at Maison Deville of Houma, said that conditions there were "nasty, very unsanitary."

A review of business licenses by CNN has found that Bob Dean Jr. of Baton Rouge is listed as an executive for all seven of the nursing facilities, in addition to the warehouse.

When questioned about the warehouse by CNN affiliate WVUE, Dean said that, "we only had five deaths within the six days and normally with 850 people, you'll have a couple a day, so we did really good with taking care of people." 

Seven nursing home residents died, according to state health officials.

​CNN has reached out to Dean and the facilities for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

It all began, the unnamed nurse says, in the early morning hours of August 27 when they received notice that staff and patients were evacuating ahead of Hurricane Ida. Ambulances were used for bed-bound patients, "lift buses" for wheelchair-mobile patients and small buses were used to transport fully mobile patients.

Power outages: After the power went out at the warehouse, the nurse says that while the large generator on-site continued to run, it switched between providing lights and air conditioning, and wall outlet electricity. The nurse says that as a result of that, the warehouse​, which had few windows, was frequently plunged into darkness.

Henderson described the warehouse as hot and humid. ​There were electric fans inside the warehouse initially, she said, but they were later removed because they were perceived to be the reason breakers repeatedly tripped.

The flickering outages also meant that nurses had to pay special attention to what was receiving any electricity at any time. When the lights and air conditioning were on, the unnamed nurse says​ they eventually realized​ on their own that meant the wall socket electricity was off. ​No one had informed them that would be the case, the nurse said.

That nurse said that almost proved deadly, because a number of their patients required concentrated oxygen to stay alive. The only way the nurse says that those in their section realized this was when they noticed patient oxygen saturation levels dropping during their rounds.

5:53 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

At least 4 people are still missing in New Jersey after Ida, governor says

Four people are still missing in New Jersey and the death toll remains at 27 as a result of Ida, Gov. Phil Murphy said in a press release.

Three are missing in Passaic County and one is missing in Essex County, Murphy said.

“Currently, we have no additional fatalities or missing persons to report," Murphy said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with every family and community mourning a loved one and of those who remain missing.” 

CNN has reported a total of 52 people have died as a result of Ida in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

5:16 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

Biden: "Climate change poses an existential threat to our lives"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

President Joe Biden speaks after touring a neighborhood in Queens, New York, on Tuesday.
President Joe Biden speaks after touring a neighborhood in Queens, New York, on Tuesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

President Biden called on the need to start adapting the country's infrastructure to climate change after touring damage caused by remnants of Hurricane Ida in the Northeast.

"I think we've all seen, even the climate skeptics are seeing, that this really does matter. And it's not just whether or not people who are just trying to get by in these homes in these alleys here working their butts off do well — it's people in high towers along the shore will find that as this rain and all this change takes place in the groundwater, the buildings are actually beginning to tilt. Hundred-story buildings. This goes so far beyond what anybody is willing to speak to up to now," Biden said during this remarks from Queens, New York.

Biden discussed the damage he saw in both New York and New Jersey caused by the storm and the impact is had on communities.

"Walking these neighborhoods, meeting the families and the first responders, seeing how folks are doing after this destruction and pain and another devastating storm is an eye opener. The people who stand on the other side of the fences who don't live there who are yelling that we are talking about and interfering with free enterprise by doing something about climate change, they don't live there...They don't understand," the President said.

Biden urged people to start taking the threat of climate change seriously and listen to the experts who say this is a "code red" situation.

"Climate change poses an existential threat to our lives, to our economy, and the threat is here, it's not going to get any better. The question is 'Can it get worse?' We can stop it from getting worse," Biden said.

"When I talk about building back better I mean you can't build it what it was before this last storm. You got to build better so that if the storm occurred again, there would be no damage... we got to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts. They all tell us this is code red," Biden added.

He went on to say the US and the rest of the world are "in peril"

"And that's not hyperbole. That is a fact. They've been warning us, the extreme weather would get more extreme over the decade, and we're living in it realtime now. We can look around the wreckage and the ruins and the heartbreak from so many communities to feel it. You can feel it, you can taste it, you can see it. Precious lives lost in Louisiana and in New Jersey and New York. Families living in shelters, subway stations flooded, decaying infrastructure pushed beyond the limits. Lives and livelihoods interrupted once again. We're working closely with the governors and mayors and members of congress and community leaders," Biden added.

5:15 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

5 Louisiana parishes still have more than 95% without power after Ida

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Downed power lines slump over a road in Reserve, Louisiana, on Friday.
Downed power lines slump over a road in Reserve, Louisiana, on Friday. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said five parishes across the state still have more than 95% of customers without power following Hurricane Ida. Those parishes are St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Terrebonne and Lafourche, Edwards said at a news conference moments ago. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, around 435,000 customers across the state, including homes and businesses, remain without power, down from 1.1 million immediately following the storm.

FEMA regional director Tony Robinson in the briefing said the agency has issued $175 million in individual relief and is housing about 25,000 displaced survivors from 8,800 households in hotels through the transitional sheltering program.

The state currently has 3,180 people in the 23 shelters across the state including local shelters, Red Cross shelters and the state-operated shelters, according to Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. 

5:15 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

Ida storm damage in Queens is "cataclysmic," New York governor says

From CNN's Laura Ly

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, center, tours Queens with President Joe Biden and US Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer on Tuesday.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, center, tours Queens with President Joe Biden and US Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer on Tuesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the post-Ida storm damage in Queens, New York, a “cataclysmic weather event” that the state has never seen before, adding that the state is “experiencing a climate crisis as we speak.”

Hochul toured storm damage in Queens alongside New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and President Biden, whom she thanked for a quick post-storm response.

The governor said Biden called her immediately and offered his assistance. She also said Biden asked FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to call as well. She applauded the speedy major disaster declaration from the federal government.

“They acted so quickly and as a result, we have deployed teams on the ground to get immediate assistance to people,” Hochul said.

Hochul said the recovery effort in Queens and other storm-affected areas of New York will continue and that state and local officials are “in this for the long haul” to get support for residents.

“You only have to walk down this street…to know that the people that we represent, who put their faith in us, are in pain right now. They’re hurting,” Hochul said.

5:15 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

NOW: Biden speaks after touring storm damage in New York and New Jersey 

President Joe Biden talks with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul as he tours an Ida-affected neighborhood in Queens, New York, on Tuesday. Also walking with Biden are US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and US Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer.
President Joe Biden talks with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul as he tours an Ida-affected neighborhood in Queens, New York, on Tuesday. Also walking with Biden are US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and US Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

President Biden is speaking after touring a Queens, New York, neighborhood damaged by flooding from Ida.

Biden is joined on stage by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

"This is an area, Queens, New York, hit so hard by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. This is where multiple people died because they could not get out of their basement apartments fast enough as the water flooded in. If you walk around this area, you see the signs of devastation everywhere," CNN correspondent MJ Lee reported.

There are at least 50 storm-related deaths in the Northeast, spanning Connecticut, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Biden has approved disaster declarations for New Jersey and New York.

Of the dozens killed in the East, many died in flooded homes — including many in basements — or while overtaken by water in or outside their vehicles.

The President visited New Jersey earlier today and received a briefing on the damage.

CNN's Maegan Vazquez and Betsy Klein contributed reporting to this post. 

3:40 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

Coast Guard looking into hundreds of oil spill "incidents" post-Ida

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

In this satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies, an oil slick is seen south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, on Thursday.
In this satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies, an oil slick is seen south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, on Thursday. (Maxar Technologies/AP)

The US Coast Guard is investigating nearly 350 reports of oil spill "incidents" in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, according to a USCG press release.

USCG said on Monday that it's "prioritizing" approximately 350 "incidents for further investigation by state, local, and federal authorities." 

USCG crews have been conducting flyovers off the coast of Louisiana looking for spills in the wake of Ida, said the release. 

During a search on Sunday, "it was discovered that a wellhead belonging to S2 Energy was discharging oil," said USCG.

S2 Energy, an oil & energy company based out of Covington, LA, has "since secured the wellhead and it is no longer discharging oil," USCG said in the release.

The company "has contracted an Oil Spill Response Organization to boom the area in order to mitigate the spread and collect any recoverable product," said the USCG release.

"The impacted area is approximately 100-yards long by 100-yard wide," but "estimates of release" have not yet been determined, said the release.

3:34 p.m. ET, September 7, 2021

Ida death toll in the Gulf region rises to at least 22

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Philip Adams walks through what remains of his living room and kitchen at his destroyed home in Lockport, Louisiana, on Monday.
Philip Adams walks through what remains of his living room and kitchen at his destroyed home in Lockport, Louisiana, on Monday. (John Locher/AP)

Louisiana Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed two more storm-related deaths following Hurricane Ida.

According to the department, the St. Tammany Parish coroner confirmed two deaths that are considered storm-related: a 68-year-old man who fell off of a roof while making repairs to damage caused by the hurricane and a 71-year-old man who died of lack of oxygen during an extended power outage.

This brings the total of Ida Louisiana fatalities to 20. Two more deaths were previously reported in Mississippi, for a Gulf total of 22.