Hurricane Ida Nationwide Death Toll Continues Rising, Hundreds of Thousands Still Without Power

by Jennifer Shea

The death toll from Hurricane Ida rose to at least 50 people in the northeastern U.S. on Sunday. At the same time, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards increased the estimated death toll in his state to 12 people.        

New York saw 17 confirmed deaths in the flooding caused by Ida, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, New Jersey reported 27 storm deaths. Connecticut saw one death. Pennsylvania had at least four deaths. And Maryland reported at least one person dead from the storm.

Meanwhile, almost 489,000 remain without power in Louisiana, according to WBRZ. After Ida made landfall there on Aug. 29, the hurricane took out all eight of Entergy Corporation’s transmission lines into New Orleans. Other towns in the area, which is also served by Demco, similarly remain in the dark.

Survivors Wait for Word of Those Missing After Hurricane Ida

Several people remained missing in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. That includes two college students, Seton Hall University’s Nidhi Rana and Montclair State University’s Ayush Rana. They were last seen in the latter’s car as the water rose around them.

“Join me in keeping Nidhi and Ayush in your prayers for their safe return,” Seton Hall President Joseph Nyre wrote in a letter to students.

At his Sunday blessing in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said a prayer for victims of Ida and those who are still reeling from its aftermath.

“May the Lord welcome the souls of the dead and give strength to those who are suffering from this calamity,” he said.

Power Outages Continue as Energy Workers Flock to New Orleans

In Louisiana, power remained out across Baton Rouge, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish and Jefferson Parish. Many residents, without lights or air conditioning in punishing heat, have been trying to lend a hand to their neighbors to get through this time.

Local residents have also stepped up to provide meals and even, in some cases, laundry services to the linemen from out of state who have traveled to the region to help restore power, WBRZ reports. By Monday, Entergy representative David Freese told the station that 40 percent of Entergy customers now have power.

Inclement weather has hampered the power restoration efforts after Hurricane Ida, with more rain expected for the area today. Under those circumstances, the linemen often have to stand down. In some areas, it may take weeks to fully restore power.

In the meantime, cruise ship the Grand Classica left the Port of Palm Beach on Saturday and is set to dock in New Orleans on Tuesday. The Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line ship is under a charter agreement with Entergy to house 1,500 workers striving to restore power to the region.

Also on Saturday, cleanup crews began responding to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The US coast guard told The Guardian the spill is thought to be crude oil from an undersea pipeline owned by Talos Energy. The spill seems to be emanating from an offshore drilling lease roughly two miles south of Port Fourchon.

Nonprofit Clean Gulf Associates has placed a containment boom over the spill and summoned skimmers to remove oil from the water.