President Biden is scheduled for Tuesday to visit areas of New York and New Jersey ravaged by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, his second trip to investigate damage from a storm that killed dozens of people in the United States.
The trip will give Mr. Biden another chance to demonstrate his commitment to the federal government’s storm response and build support for an infrastructure package that he has promised would help protect against future storms.
In a speech last week, Mr. Biden described the flooding as “another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here,” and called for increased spending on modernizing power grids, sewers, water systems, bridges and roads.
The president is expected to make a stop in Queens, where several people have died in flooded basement apartments. Climate change has made low-lying housing particularly treacherous: Of the 13 dead found by the storm in New York City, at least 11 were in basements, according to the city government.
Ida killed at least 25 people in New Jersey – more fatalities than in any other state – and several people are still missing. Biden will also head to Manville, NJ, where flooding caused explosions and fires in buildings across the city.
New York and New Jersey governors announced Monday that they had received federal aid from the Biden administration, which had declared areas in both states major disaster zones after last week’s torrential rains and catastrophic flooding.
The funding, which will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, means those who have been forced from their homes by the storm in the approved counties, including those without insurance coverage, will be eligible for money to repair their homes. It will also cover legal services, unemployment assistance and crisis counseling, both states said.
The president’s trip comes four days after visiting Louisiana to assess Ida’s damage. In addition to attending an emergency operations briefing with local and state officials, he visited damaged homes in LaPlace and hugged some people as they showed him debris from the storm.
In New York and New Jersey, advocates for tougher climate action hope the disaster will spur new state and local climate laws and regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as ignite opposition to even more sweeping proposals, such as a New York City Council bill to ban gas heating and stoves in all new buildings.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Twitter over the weekend she allocated $378 million in federal disaster funding to protect New York residents from the effects of climate change and would work with local governments to “identify and resolve vulnerabilities so this level of damage doesn’t happen again.” .