Visiting communities in New York and New Jersey hard hit by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, President Biden said Tuesday the damage is further proof that climate change is real and the impacts are potentially devastating.
“We’re living through it now,” Biden said. “We don’t have any more time.”
More than 50 deaths have been confirmed in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the majority of those due to flooding caused by historic rains from the storm.
Early estimates are that the storm did tens of millions of dollars in damage to homes, buildings and infrastructure.
Ida roared ashore in Louisiana on August 29 as a powerful category four hurricane. More than a dozen lives were lost along the Gulf Coast and more than half a million residents remained without power early Tuesday.
The storm’s winds weakened as it moved north, but tornadoes and flooding rains devastated locations in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. The major disaster declarations will allow individuals to receive federal assistance, including grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property loss.
Biden first visited Manville, New Jersey in Somerset County where homes were totally overwhelmed by flooding triggered by Ida's torrential rains.
“My thoughts are with all those families affected by the storm, and all those families who lost someone they love,” Biden said.
The death toll in New Jersey was up to 27, with several people still missing, and nearly 70 dead from Ida in total.
Pointing to the drought fueled wildfires burning in the west, Biden said the impact of global warming is widespread.
“Every part of the country is getting hit by extreme weather, and we’re now living in real time what the country is going to look like,” the president said.
Speaking to local leaders in New Jersey, the president said we can’t reverse climate change, but we can keep it from getting worse — the key is to act now.
“In my view, this is an opportunity,” Biden said. “I think the country has finally acknowledged the fact that global warming is real and that it’s moving at an incredible pace, and we’ve got to do something about it.”
The White House is asking Congress to provide at least $10 billion for recovery from the hurricane and $14 billion for other natural disasters, an administration official said Tuesday on a call with reporters.