31 Aug 2021

Hurricane Ida: Speaking to the victims as over a million face a month without power

Washington Correspondent

Howling winds, driving rain and storm surges – Hurricane Ida has left more than a million people in Louisiana facing at least a month without power and in Mississippi a motorway has collapsed. The death toll of four is expected to rise.

Ida was the second most intense hurricane to hit the state on record. Only Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was stronger.

Ida has now eased, but Channel 4 News went to Louisiana to meet those piecing their lives together in its wake.

Estella Ursin lives in Laplace, Louisiana, a short distance away from New Orleans which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago.

She says Hurricane Ida blew through her home like a freight train leaving her submerged in more than two feet of water with no power and just enough food for a few days.

Ms Ursin said: “When we moved here, these people were telling us they never had a flood here. And (now) we have been through two here.”

Several people told this programme they came to live in Laplace because they were told that during hurricane season it was a flood free zone.

They now believe that post Katrina, places like New Orleans have been prioritised, and the billions spent rebuilding the levees there has forced the water into unprotected areas.

The Aples family have decided to move out of Laplace.

“When I was living here about 25 years ago, this place did not flood. Now it’s a flood zone,” Venus Aples said.

“I feel forgotten about.”

Carrie Kinler, who lives with her two dogs in Laplace, decided to stay in her home because she didn’t think the storm would hit too hard.

Ida was classed as a Category 1 hurricane the day before it made landfall, but the energy it picked up from the hot waters off the Gulf of Mexico, as a result of climate change, in the last 24 hours, meant it intensified. Overnight it was close to Category 5.

“It was terrifying,” Ms Kinler said.

She has left with her dogs to live elsewhere while her home dries out.