Hurricane Ida Aftermath: 63 Dead Nationwide and 600,000 in Louisiana Without Power

Waves crash against the New Canal Lighthouse on Lake Pontchartrain as the effects of Hurricane Ida begin to be felt in New Orleans on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. Nolaidasun09
Michael DeMocker / For USA TODAY Network via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The death toll of Hurricane Ida and her remnants continues to rise as it is now confirmed 63 have died nationwide, while another 600,000 are without electricity in Louisiana.

Sunday night saw an increase in death as one of the 600,000 Louisianans still without power perished. A 74-year-old New Orleans man succame to heat exhaustion because of the outages raising the number of the state’s dead to 13. Over 22,000 power poles were destroyed by the hurricane and its remnants. There continues to be a shortage of basic human necessities such as food, and water, and gas for residents.

In addition to the loss of life in Louisiana, 50 died due to the hurricane’s remnants in the northeast. New York reports the loss of 17 lives, including 13 in New York City and four in Westchester County. Eleven of the 13 dead in New York City drowned in illegal basement apartments, many of which lacked windows and secondary exits. The crisis of illegal basement apartments has become a significant issue as the New York Times reported the number of these apartments extends into the tens of thousands.

One heartwrenching story of a family who passed in a New York basement apartment was recounted by neighbors. Ana Lama, 50, Minga Sherpa, 48, and their child Ang Sherpa, who was only 2-years-old, called an upstairs neighbor for help during their hectic final moments. Neighbor Choi Sledge received a call from a frantic Sherpa who yelled, “the water is coming in right now… The water’s coming in through the window!” Sledge told Sherpa to exit the dwelling immediately. Upon calling back moments later, Sledge did not receive an answer.

Another neighbor, Deborah Torres told the New York Daily News that the water pressure rushing down the stairs was most likely too powerful for the family to overcome:

I think the pressure of the water was too strong that they couldn’t open the door [to get out and up the stairs.] The [basement] was just like a pool with stairs.

According to Governor Kathy Hochul, who took over the duties of former Governor Andrew Cuomo after his resignation, explained, “The human toll was horrendous.” Hochul estimates that there are roughly $50 million in damages in her state including damages to 2,200 homes, as well as business, and public transportation facilities.

Earlier this week, in the wake of the storm’s destruction, the governor claimed she did not believe that Ida’s remnants posed such a lethal threat. “We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York,” Hochul explained. “I don’t want this to happen again.”

New Jersey saw the most loss of life with 27 deaths. Four people remain missing, including two college students who had been near the Passaic River. Nidhi Rana, 18, and Ayush Rana, 21, were in their car when they were swept away by the roaring waters that were a product of flash flooding. Hector Lora, mayor of Passaic stated that 12 search and rescue boats have been actively searching for students.

Maryland and Connecticut have each reported one death while four deaths have been reported out of Pennsylvania.

One man, Timothy Satterlee, 71, was killed by an alligator in Louisiana after the area around his house flooded. Satterlee was outside when his wife heard a commotion and witnessed his arm had been torn off. His wife, who remains unidentified, attempted to save him to no avail.

According to the New York Post, there have been close to 350 reports of oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico which are being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

President Joe Biden visited Lousiana on Friday and is expected to visit New York and New Jersey on Tuesday, only after enjoying a Labor Day Weekend getaway at his private home in Delaware. The president issued emergency declarations for both New Jersey and New York earlier this week.

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