President Biden outlines Hurricane Ida response ahead of Louisiana trip

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 4:31 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - “We’re all in this together.”

That was President Biden’s message Thursday as he outlined his administration’s response to Hurricane Ida. He addressed the nation as he prepares to tour the devastation in Louisiana Friday.

In addition to emergency crews, food, shelter, and fuel on the ground, Biden said he’s using new tools to restore power and maintain energy infrastructure in the Gulf Coast.

The plan includes using government surveillance drones to assess the damage, working with private companies to restore cell phone services, and tapping into the strategic petroleum reserve.

“We are moving already quickly to increase the availability of gas and easing the pressure on gas prices around the country,” Biden said.

The president also spoke directly to insurance companies, encouraging them to loosen restrictions and approve coverage for all affected homeowners, not just those in mandatory evacuation areas.

“I’m calling on insurance companies not to evade their responsibility to keep the promises they made to their customers help some folks who are hurting,” Biden said.

But millions are still without power in the Gulf Coast and even more communities are now suffering catastrophic flooding.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said the agency is adapting its response; releasing personnel from Mississippi and relocating emergency crews to other hard-hit areas.

“We will begin doing damage assessments with them to see what the long-term recovery needs are going to be there,” Criswell said.

President Biden said he will meet with Gov. Bel Edwards and local leaders while in Louisiana tomorrow.

He said his visit will not disrupt recovery efforts on the ground.

Copyright 2021 Gray DC. All rights reserved.