Biden to investigate storm damage in New York and NJ after deadly flooding

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President Joe Biden will examine the damage in parts of the northeast that suffered catastrophic flash flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, and use the muddy backdrop to call for federal spending to fortify infrastructure so that ‘they can better withstand such powerful storms.

Biden is expected to visit Manville, NJ, and the New York City neighborhood of Queens on Tuesday.

At least 50 people have been killed in six eastern states as record rainfall last week flooded rivers and sewers. Some people have been trapped in basements and fast-filling cars, or have been swept away trying to escape. The storm also spawned several tornadoes.

More than half of those deaths, 27, were recorded in New Jersey. In New York, 13 people were killed, including 11 in Queens.

Biden’s visit follows a trip to Louisiana on Friday, where Hurricane Ida first made landfall, killing at least 13 people in the state and plunging New Orleans into darkness. Power is slowly restored.

Manville, located along the Raritan River in New Jersey, is almost always hit hard by major storms. It was the scene of catastrophic flooding in 1998 when the remnants of Tropical Storm Floyd swept through New Jersey. It also suffered severe flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Super Storm Sandy in 2012.

Biden approved the major disaster declarations, making federal aid available to residents of six New Jersey counties and five New York counties affected by the devastating flooding.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spent part of Labor Day visiting damaged communities. Deanne Criswell, the city’s former director of emergency management who is now in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has joined the mayor.

Biden used his appearance in Louisiana to pitch his plan, pending in Congress, to spend $ 1,000 billion to upgrade roads, bridges, sewers and drainage systems, and other infrastructure to make them look better. able to withstand the blows of increasingly powerful storms.

“Hurricane Ida is another reminder that we need to be prepared for the next hurricane and the super storms that are coming, and they are going to come more frequently and more fiercely,” Biden said Friday in a hard-hit residential area in LaPlace. .

Murphy said he would speak to Biden on Tuesday about adding other New Jersey counties to the disaster declaration.

A man walks through his flooded basement apartment in a Queens neighborhood in New York on Friday.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Former presidents have been defined in part by how they handle such crises, and Biden has seen several weather-induced emergencies during his short presidency, starting with an ice storm in February that caused the failure. of the Texas power grid. It also monitors forest fires in the West.

The White House has sought to present Biden as the commander of the federal response to these natural disasters, making it known that he receives regular updates from his team and that he remains in contact with governors and other elected officials in affected areas. .

As President, Donald Trump casually tossed paper napkins at the people of Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, generating scorn from critics but little damage to his political stance. Barack Obama hugged Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after Storm Sandy in 2012, a brief respite from partisan tensions that had threatened the economy. George W. Bush has fallen from public favor due to a poor and unprepared response after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005.

Scientists say climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, including large tropical storms that turn into powerful hurricanes.

Ida was the fifth strongest storm to hit the United States when it made landfall in Louisiana on August 29.

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