Louisiana death toll from Hurricane Ida rises to 26

An aerial view shows debris and buildings damaged from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana on Sept 3, 2021.
An aerial view shows debris and buildings damaged from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana on Sept 3, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOUISIANA (REUTERS) - Louisiana's death toll from Hurricane Ida rose to 26 on Wednesday (Sept 8) after health officials reported 11 additional deaths in New Orleans.

Of those deaths, eight were males and three were females, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

The causes of the additional deaths ranged from excessive heat during an extended power outage to carbon monoxide poisoning, the department said, with excessive heat being responsible for nine of those fatalities.

The 11 deaths occurred or were reported to the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office between Aug 30 and Sept 6, the department said.

Ida, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the United States Gulf Coast, hit Louisiana more than a week ago before moving north-east and causing intense flooding that killed dozens.

The hurricane had led to widespread power outages earlier this month, with more than a million people being left in the dark in Louisiana. As at late Wednesday, over 270,000 people in the state still faced power outages, according to the PowerOutage.us website.

Louisiana is rescheduling its fall elections because of Ida's far-reaching damage, with Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin saying that the state's governor John Bel Edwards had agreed to push back the election dates by five weeks, local media reported.

The statewide election scheduled for Oct 9 will instead be held on Nov 13, and a run-off as needed will be scheduled for Dec 11, according to the Associated Press.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf asked US President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster in Pennsylvania after heavy rains and flash flooding in the state last week from the remnants of Ida.

Mr Biden on Tuesday toured sites of deadly floods in the North-east and said Hurricane Ida demonstrated the ravages of climate change as he pressed for investments to boost infrastructure and fight global warming.

Mr Biden noted that wildfires, hurricanes and floods were hitting every part of the US, with more than 100 million Americans affected this summer alone. The storms will only be getting worse, he said.

The President visited Louisiana last week, promising federal aid and urging national unity.

Energy companies were also struggling to restart production more than a week after Ida made landfall. As at Wednesday, more than three-quarters of the US Gulf of Mexico's offshore oil and natural gas output remained shut as the fallout from Ida hampered production.