Four days after Hurrican Ida struck the United States coast, many people are still stranded and without food, water, or shelter.
Several residents in New Orleans are struggling to get though the days.
Despite the city’s preparedness for such disasters following Hurrican Katrina in 2005, residents are still suffering the effects of Hurrican Ida.
One resident, who is a single mother trying to keep her children safe, was interviewed live on CNN.
She pleaded for help:
“I’m a single mom and I’m doing it by myself. It’s hard out here. Can they help us?”
She continued, “Where’s the president? Can he come help us?”
The situation in New Orleans draws many comparisons to Katrina in 2005, when the media blamed then-President George W. Bush for not responding quickly enough.
The question is, where is the media in holding Joe Biden accountable now?
New Orleans Resident: "Where's the President?"
The damage left in Hurricane Ida's wake is significant.
With many residents without shelter, let alone electricity, the danger of extreme heat now poses a new risk.
According to USA Today, multiple heat advisories now challenge the health and safety of many residents:
Andrew Johnson put his mattress on his balcony Tuesday night and slept outside, searching for a breeze that refused to come through his bedroom window.
It had been three days since he and other New Orleans residents braced for Hurricane Ida’s Category 4 driving rains and howling winds. But a citywide power outage and soaring heat index had him hoping for rain clouds Wednesday.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s miserable. People are staying outside, sleeping outside, trying to find any piece of shade,” Johnson said. “If you have a shadow, I’ll try to stand in that shadow. I’ll use that shadow to try to cool off."
Multiple heat advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service this week due to the high humidity and temperatures in the region. The heat index, or ‘feels like’ temperature, is expected to climb to 106 on Thursday, according to the agency.
For those without generators, exposure to extreme heat levels can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue. In severe cases, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can result in heat exhaustion, heatstroke or even death. The elderly and individuals with chronic health conditions can be at more risk for heat-related illnesses, said Dr. Brett Marlin assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“These are all conditions associated with high temperatures and obviously made worse in areas of high humidity where your sweat is less effective at trying to reduce your body temperature,” Marlin said.
But the sweltering heat levels can be more dangerous for some of New Orleans' most vulnerable neighborhoods, according to heat mapping models developed by the New Orleans Health Department and ISeeChange, a local community climate technology platform.
They found that neighborhood temperatures in areas such as Central City and Holly Grove can experience temperatures on average up to six degrees higher than what’s recorded at the airport in Kenner, 10 miles from downtown New Orleans.
Central City and Holly Grove also have higher rates of poverty than the rest of the city. Central City is home to some of the city's larger low-income housing projects and residents of the area have lower rates of car ownership, according to U.S. Census data.
Johnson said most of his neighborhood didn't evacuate before the hurricane.
ISeeChange heat mapping models also found that unsafe housing conditions and specific types of multifamily housing units were often hotter inside than outside, said Julia Kumari Drapkin, the CEO and founder of ISee Change.
“Right now in New Orleans without access to electricity and cooling, that scenario could be happening citywide. Heat risk overlaps with unsafe housing conditions," she said. "It is the most vulnerable people in our community who are really stressed right now. These are the places where we should be doing neighbor checks."
Belfast Street in the Hollygrove neighborhood has fewer trees than more affluent New Orleans neighborhoods, making it harder to stay cool without electricity in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. (Photo by Michael DeMocker)
The heat disparity is primarily due to a lack of trees and green spaces in addition to large amounts of asphalt infrastructure that trap the heat, something Johnson has experienced firsthand in Central City.
“There’s no trees so if it’s 100 degrees outside it feels like 200 degrees inside,” Johnson said. “It’s the poor Black neighborhoods...Trying to survive the heat in a neighborhood like mine, it’s just something we go through.”
City officials have been working tirelessly to restore power to New Orleans for several days.
The damage done to the city was significant to say the least.
Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Louisiana on Friday.
His approval rating sits at its lowest according to CNN:
Managing hurricanes has become a key test for presidents seeking to convey competence. Previous storms, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Maria in 2017, have strained federal resources and reflected poorly on the White House.
The Biden White House has acknowledged it faces two, if not more, natural disasters exacerbated by climate change across the country.
While a hurricane and destructive floods faced the eastern half of the United States, the Caldor Fire in the West has torched nearly 200,000 acres in California.
Biden's trip to Louisiana, his second to the state since coming into office, comes as he appears to face multiple domestic and international crises.
The visit to the Gulf is happening three days after the US' full withdrawal from Afghanistan, a chaotic airlift operation that left Afghans and American service members dead. And the US also continues to contend with the coronavirus, the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant, and the pandemic's impact on the economy.
Biden's approval rating, meanwhile, is at its lowest point in his presidency.
In the average of polls, he stood at about 47% at the end of August, marking a steady decline from the beginning of August (51%), July (52%) and beginning of June (54%).
Joe Biden is facing more criticism every day for his continued failures.