Uprooted trees from Hurricane Ida blocked the driveway of Milton Cayette, who is a resident of St. James Parish. Uprooted trees also damaged his front door; Cayette uses a wheelchair, and he called parish officials for assistance, but they never showed up.
However, parish officials reported that they never received any call from an address that matched Cayette’s. They further added that the government is “by law, not allowed to enter or conduct work on private property unless it is an emergency life-saving measure.”
Two days later, a group of volunteers from New Orleans came to help and remove the trees that he could go outside.
Category 4 Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 11:55 a.m. local time on Sunday (Aug. 29).
“I’ve seen it all,” Cayette, a retired industry worker, reported to CNN. “After Hurricane Betsy in 1965, the chemical plants started building and operating, and alot of them, and it all changed.”
Robert Taylor Jr., an executive director of Concerned Citizens of St. John, reported that many more people were trapped in their garrets after the storm. In addition, many other people have seen roofs being ripped off by Hurricane Ida.
Taylor reported that lack of emergency response and neglect of officials is an example that caused the community to suffer. Residents are of the view that the Government, along with President Joe Biden, failed to take the required steps.
They failed to protect the community from storms by not issuing an evacuation order earlier. They failed to protect and assist poor and vulnerable residents like Cayette, who could not flee their homes.
“The government is obviously failing us and not protecting us, and this just pushed it over the top,” reported Taylor. Nevertheless, Taylor managed to evacuate from St. John before the high winds hit.
The death toll jumped to 82 by Hurricane Ida, and the Southern States faced new flash flooding threats. In addition, some roads are unsafe and impassable due to downed power lines and storm surges threats. Hurricane Ida has left Grand Isle, Louisiana, life-threatening and inhabitant because most buildings and houses are destroyed.
“I was mad and disappointed at the government, and what concerned me, even more is that I’m disabled, but they couldn’t come to help,” Cayette said, highlighting the lack of adequate response.
Hurricane Ida would become an exceedingly terrible Category 4 storm, predicted The National Hurricane Center. And Hurricane Ida has hit Louisiana on the same date Hurricane Katrina destroyed Louisiana and the Mississippi River 16 years back.
Officials announced that Jefferson Parish extended the curfew through Friday; Jefferson Parish is a parish in the U.S. state of Louisiana. In addition, Jefferson Parish has urged residents to refrain from washing clothes and dishes. Since tropical storms have hit the region, the curfew has been in place, Ida caused massive power outages.
Chemical Corridor Crossed by Hurricane Ida
The stretch between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is a place that has a high concentration of chemicals, other industrial facilities, and petroleum. And many of them have reported releases of toxic carcinogens a few years back, and Hurricane Ida crossed this chemical corridor.
From many years back, Scientists have been claiming a rise in earth temperature due to the burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases emission. However, after Ida hit poor residents in Louisiana and Mississippi, the EPA released an analysis that racial and ethnic community suffers most. Further reported that poor residents cannot deal with and recover from, prepare for heatwaves, flooding and pollution.
Moreover, after Ida, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is one of more than 2,000 reports of water contamination. And the national guards have received 2,113 cases of water pollution and oil spill in the region.
It’s been a week since Hurricane Ida hit the gulf coast, and its devastating impacts are still being felt in the region. Coast guards have been playing their role and are responding to natural disasters, including tropical cyclones.
“It’s absolutely an insult that the companies that are responsible for this are also the ones that are driving climate change,” said Naomi Yoder to CNN.
Naomi is a staff scientist at the Healthy Gulf, a group working to restore natural resources in the region. “They’re also one of the biggest drivers of land loss in Louisiana, which makes the effects of hurricanes worse,” he added.
More Crisis due to Covid-19 Pandemic
Not just Hurricane but Covid pandemic also had hit both parishes hard. St. John had the highest death rate per capita for Coronavirus in the United States in April 2020. And at that time, St. James had a five times higher death rate than the overall national death rate.
And almost a year later, Category 4 Hurricane Ida hit the area and threw areas high Covid-19 and cancer rate. And area had to suffer numerous health hazard which comes from the region’s pollution from burning fossil fuels in industries.
“It’s just risk on top of risk on top of risk,” Kimberly Terrell, director of community engagement at the Tulane University Environmental Law Clinic, told CNN.
“There’s always air pollution coming out of industrial facilities, and these communities have been burdened with that for decades,” he added.