Remarks by President Biden in Briefing on Hurricane Ida

South Court Auditorium
Eisenhower Govt Office environment Developing

1:43 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Superior afternoon, everyone.  We’re waiting for a handful of much more men and women to get on, but we’re heading to get commenced if that’s all right with you all.  And thanks for signing up for me.  I’m listed here — the FEMA Director is on.  FEMA Director Criswell — she’s on.  And I’m listed here with my senior advisor and boy who understands Louisiana really, really nicely, man — and New Orleans and — Cedric Richmond.

And what I’m going to do is make a quick statement listed here and then go by means of and notify you what we’re accomplishing, but then listen to from all of you, if that’s ok.  I know you’re busy as the satan.

I know you’ve obtained a lot to deal with in your states, but the point is that I want to hear from you we both want to hear from you.  And we know Hurricane Ida experienced the opportunity to induce large, substantial dem- — problems, and that is just what we noticed.

We previously know there’s been at the very least just one verified dying, and a range — that number is probable to increase.  And I’ve acquired — we have received a million men and women in Louisiana devoid of electrical power.

And, for a time, Ida induced the Mississippi River to virtually change its direction, and some individuals are nevertheless dealing with the storm surge and flash flooding.

And there are roads that are impassable due to particles and downed electricity strains.  And we need persons to continue on to shelter in position if it’s safe and sound for them to do so.

And for people who have dropped their properties, you know, states, working with the American Purple Cross, have already opened 50 — 50 shelters in afflicted parts across the Gulf Coastline.

We have already started lookup and rescue efforts, and we get people who — out there who need assistance.  And we’re executing the finest we can.

Much more than 5,000 associates of the National Guard have been activated from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas
to help research and rescue and restoration efforts.

And FEMA has pre-positioned actually millions of foods and liters of h2o.  They’re by now pre-positioned, as nicely as other assets, in the quick area.

And we’ve deployed a lot more than 200 generators, and we already moved into the area they’ve been moved in forward of time.  And the Administrator Criswell and her group at FEMA is operating finding much more of those into the spot.

We’re in close make contact with with nearby electric powered suppliers to see what they want.  They’re all non-public providers we don’t manage that.  But we’re carrying out all we can to limit the volume of time
it is going to just take to get electricity again up for anyone in the area.

And we have been working with the electric sector all over the night and all day today to evaluate and comprehend the complete — the comprehensive extent of the destruction.

To speed up the system, I’ve requested the Federal Aviation Administration to work right now with Louisiana and Mississippi electrical organizations to authorize the use of surveillance drones to assess Ida’s harm to energy infrastructure, even though guaranteeing people flights do not disrupt aerial look for and rescue functions.

And I’ve also questioned the Pentagon and the Division of Homeland Safety to immediately make accessible any satellite imagery that can aid in examining the destruction in your states and towns and parishes. 

Nearby utilities are heading to before long start restoration operate, like prioritizing having transmission strains into New Orleans and get them back up and running.  A great deal of them have been taken down.

More than 25,000 debris crews and linemen from at minimum 30 states are rolling in to help you.  Some are previously pre-positioned and shut, and hopefully are already underway. 

But we require to be ready and — that — we’re about as ready as we could be for the early stage of this, and there is a great deal far more to do.

We also know a great deal of people missing their cellphone company if their certain carrier tower is down or weakened.

So, this morning, the Federal Communications Fee has labored with the mobile suppliers to initiate their Cooperative Framework Agreement.  That agreement lets consumers on 1 line — with one supplier to go to one more supplier if that service provider is down.  So it will allow clients to use roaming access [across] carriers — to any of the carriers that are up and running.  And that implies you should really be able to get a sign no matter who your provider was or is. 

The main point I want to make very clear to all of you is we’re supplying any assist we — that you’re going to require.

And so I’ve bought — as I claimed, I have received my senior advisor, Cedric Richmond, listed here with me.  You all know him.  He’s a New Orleans native, and he’s a congressman of Louisiana — was a congressman from Louisiana’s 2nd District for 10 many years.  He knows the spot.  He is aware the people, and he — who have been impacted by Ida.  And he appreciates how to get things carried out in federal government.

Whilst FEMA is our guide for on-the-floor reaction, if there is a thing you have to have — wants my awareness, Cedric is your direct line — immediate line into the White House in the course of this restoration.  And I imply that.  No matter what you will need, go to Cedric.  He’ll get to me, and we’ll get you what you need, if we can.

The folks of Louisiana and — and Mississippi are resilient and — but it is in moments like these that we can definitely see the ability of federal government to answer to the desires of the persons if the authorities is prepared and if they answer.  That is our career, if we function collectively.  The people get knocked down we’re there to assistance you get back on your feet.

The most essential element, although, is coordinating all the branches of authorities — point out, nearby, and federal.  And that’s what we’re trying to make sure that we tried out to do even before this hurricane hit.  That is why we began doing work collectively — we’re heading to stand with you and the people today of the Gulf as very long as it takes for you to get better.

And so I’m now heading to switch this more than to John Bel — Governor Edwards of Louisiana.

And, Governor, give us your assessment of what you have, what you are observing out there.  Tell me what you’re listening to and what your crew on the ground — and everything you will need that we have not gotten to you.

GOVERNOR EDWARDS:  Thank you extremely substantially, Mr. President.  And you couldn’t have picked a better person than Cedric Richmond, and we glimpse forward to doing the job with him as well. 

Initially of all, enable me thank you for signing my ask for for a pre-landfall declaration and then, previous night time, signing the big disaster declaration.  Which is going to be incredibly beneficial. 

Hurricane Ida arrived onshore with every little thing that was advertised: — 


GOVERNOR EDWARDS:  — the surge, the rain, the wind. 

The excellent information, first, is all of our levee devices, significantly our federal levee techniques and hurricane threat reduction devices, executed magnificently.  They ended up not overtopped.  None of them were breached.  Even — even our levee methods that have been paid for with point out and neighborhood funding in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish done particularly perfectly.  It would be a unique tale entirely experienced any of all those levee devices unsuccessful. 

Having claimed that, the damage is continue to catastrophic, but it was generally wind-pushed.  But we know that there were some areas that obtained large rainfall as nicely.  But we’re heading to be dealing with this — with this problems for quite a though.

And you described the power outage.  That is crucial for us.  And it is really a million properties and companies that are out.  And my finest guess is you’re receiving nearer to 2 million people without having electrical energy suitable now. 

And, of study course, we’re making an attempt to prioritize the restoration so that our hospitals come back up very first.


GOVERNOR EDWARDS:  For the reason that while they’re all on generator ability, generators generally, you know, fail immediately after some period of time of time.  So, we want to get them again up 1st.  And in the meantime, we already have the Corps of Engineers on the ground pinpointing supplemental generators that we can convey to these medical center destinations so that ought to we have a failure ahead of electricity is restored, we’re likely to be equipped to switch them around.  And they’re doing work particularly tough on that.

And we have FEMA embedded with us below given that before the storm.  The truth of the matter of the matter is, they’ve embedded (inaudible) due to the fact the working day I turned governor.  They have not left simply because of one disaster or crisis right after yet another.  But they are carrying out really nicely. 

We look ahead to viewing with Administrator Criswell, who I imagine is heading to be capable to arrive down tomorrow, Mr. President.

But this is likely to be a extensive haul, and we know that we’re likely to need to have guidance with the housing software.  We’re placing alongside one another preliminary info this 7 days that can probably push an appropriation for a CDBG.  We’ll be finding with you all — and I’ll get the job done as a result of Cedric Richmond on that, Mr. President — to make guaranteed that we can get a application up and working just as before long as possible. 

But I want to — I want to complete with seriously the most significant point: We are continue to in lifesaving method in this article undertaking lookup and rescue.  The roadways, the highways into the most impacted place had been totally clogged with particles, downed powerlines, trees. 

We’re earning really good progress.  We basically began our ground research and rescue this morning at daylight.  We dispatched those people forces.

And, by the way, we by now experienced lookup and rescue groups from 16 states in Louisiana as of yesterday.  They commenced relocating to the impacted locations at three o’clock this early morning.  At 6 o’clock, they were being — they ended up essentially performing search and rescues from 911 phone calls that came in about the night that couldn’t be responded to.  And then, by six o’clock this morning, we truly were being effecting rescues out of the air as properly. 

And the past point I want to say is the extremely initial rescues transpired at a clinic in Galliano, down in Lafourche Parish, by the U.S. Coast Guard, simply because they have been equipped to fly right before — right before any other property could.  And they ended up equipped to transfer about 7 clients from a clinic down there.  You almost certainly observed the healthcare facility that had the roof just totally —


GOVERNOR EDWARDS:  — you know, taken off yesterday.  Your Coast Guard rescued and relocated those people individuals initial detail this morning, and we are incredibly appreciative of that.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you.  Perfectly, glance, I wanted — we labored authentic tricky with you to get the search and rescue teams in spot.  But they — you say they have been equipped to respond in a timely way.

GOVERNOR EDWARDS:  Of course, sir.  And I’m — I simply cannot convey to you they’re just about everywhere we want them, but they commenced responding initial issue this morning.  And those 16 teams — that doesn’t include things like the Countrywide Guard or the Wildlife and Fisheries officers listed here. 

You know, I’ve got all 5,000 of my Countrywide Guardsmen activated.  We’re going to end up with about 5,000 much more coming in from out of state by means of an EMAC ask for.  And just one of the explanations this is important, Mr. President, is we’ve bought 2,400 of our soldiers in our 256th Brigade Infantry Beat Crew they’re deployed to the Center East. 

And so, we’re likely to have EMAC requests wherever, I feel as early as tomorrow, we’re likely to have more troopers coming from Nationwide Guards from sister states, and which is likely to be really beneficial as very well.

THE PRESIDENT:  Very well, good.  Nicely, search, if there’s nearly anything else you need to have, you know you just simply call.  I necessarily mean, you have got the crew at the table there — a ton of them — and so, just holler. 

All right.  Now, Cedric, who are we likely to future?

MR. RICHMOND:  Governor Reeves.

THE PRESIDENT:  Is Gov- — oh, you are.  I recognize, Gov, you’re not on online video, but you are on the phone.  So, Gov, fireplace away.

GOVERNOR REEVES:  Effectively, thank you, Mr. President.  When we spoke on Friday, you certain me that when we questioned for the pre-landfall declaration, that you would right away indicator it, and you did just that, and I want to thank you for performing so.  We’re in a minimal little bit of a diverse posture correct now, definitely, than our close friends in Louisiana.

The storm is — the eye of the storm is at the moment west of Jackson, and so we likely have concerning 18 and 22 extra several hours of the eye of the storm remaining in the condition of Mississippi.  We also have — for the reason that it is these types of a significant storm, our most significant menace, in terms of tornadic exercise, still continues to be alongside our shoreline and in the counties just north of there.

The storm, which actually is hard, has slowed down to about eight miles an hour, and so that is the motive it’s going to remain in the condition for so long, which leads to extra and more rainfall.  So, the bad information for us is that we’re heading to get even extra rainfall than probably we at first anticipated. 

The good information is, mainly because it is shifting so sluggish, the wind speeds have not achieved where we assumed they would be — in the 65- to 75-mile-an-hour selection — right here in Central Mississippi.  They are genuinely nearer to 30 to 40 miles an hour.  Definitely however giving some substantial worries but not to the extent that it or else could have been.

For the reason that of that, we know that our finest threats listed here in Mississippi are with regard to increasing water and electricity outages.  The storm has been in the state for about 8 to 10 hrs now.  We have got 135,000-in addition Mississippi dwellings that have not and are unable to get electric power proper now.  We’re doing the job — operating on that, but we anticipate that selection to appreciably increase over the next 20 several hours as the storm carries on to go mor- — to go north.

We have established, in meeting with our staff, Mr. President, as perfectly as your crew at FEMA previously today, that the SARs assets — the Look for and Rescue Groups — from FEMA in our condition are not presently required in our state. 

We think our state and local belongings can fulfill the requires.  And so, we have inspired our FEMA counterparts to launch people people today more than to Louisiana to help with the lookup and rescue.


GOVERNOR REEVES:  As effectively as, I have directed Standard Boyles, my Adjutant Common, as we progress about the subsequent 8 to 10 hrs — he has now achieved out to his counterpart in Louisiana, and we’re heading to be sending adult males and women in uniform from Mississippi to support in Louisiana because which is just — that is who we are. 

And so, we have got, yet again, some — about 20 hrs ahead of us of winds and tons and loads of rain.  But all matters deemed, for the reason that the storm slowed up so significantly, we’re observing much more rain — more rain, a lot more h2o, but a good deal considerably less wind, which is surely practical. 

THE PRESIDENT:  Effectively, many thanks an dreadful ton, Gov.  And once again, many thanks for your generosity in sending some of all those search and rescue groups to Louisiana. 

And is — is — Mayor Cantrell on?  Mayor Cantrell, are you on?  I really don’t — I really don’t think she was equipped to get linked. 

MR. RICHMOND:  I really don’t believe so, Mr. President, but we have Cynthia Lee Sheng —

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, alright.

MR. RICHMOND:  The Parish President from Jefferson Parish, which consists of Grand Isle and other sites hard-strike.

THE PRESIDENT:  You ended up challenging-hit, weren’t — weren’t you, Madam President?

MS. SHENG:  Thank you. 

THE PRESIDENT:  Primarily down in Grand Isle.

MS. SHENG:  Certainly, we had been.  Thank you, Mr. President.  Congressman, Governor, thank you.

We have not had get hold of with Grand Isle.  Congressman, you know Mayor Camardelle.  I talked to him yesterday evening.  He considered 40 people ended up on the island — could not get them off — like some firefighters.  We have not experienced get hold of with them since yesterday. 

I’m informed that the — Mayor Camardelle is in Galliano.  And Governor, I assume he’s on a helicopter by the State Police — is what I heard — to get him to the island.  And as extended as there is conversation, we’ll be capable to converse with him and see what is going on there.  But it is — it’s extremely difficult to not have any word from that island and the people on it considering the fact that that time.

In Lafitte, the drinking water was incredibly substantial — to the roofs of houses.  Our to start with responders, Sheriff Joseph Lopinto, our firefighters, Louisiana Nationwide Guard, some — some Coast Guard are there doing research and rescue.  They’re owning to get boats in and out.  We are sheltering these people at PARD Playground.  And then, I believe, the state is going to coordinate, Governor, for a pickup and move them out to Alexandria is my understanding. 

And then, of program, our devices are down.  We have no energy, no interaction.  Our drinking water systems are down.  We’re dropping stress.  We had to do a boil drinking water advisory.  Our sewer procedure, as you know, is based mostly on energy, so we’re heading to commence obtaining backups there, so that is heading to be a cleanliness challenge. 

And we’re encouraging people who are out of the location to continue to be out simply because we do not have the present day features to bring them back household.  And the people inside, you know, we’re heading to have to take treatment of them. 

But some of the men and women in here who stayed for the duration of the storm and are ok — in the subsequent couple days, they may well want to get out, and it may well be a be- — ideal plan for them to get out for the reason that it is going to be difficult life for quite some time. 

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Madam President. 

MS. SHENG:  Thank you. 

THE PRESIDENT:  Cedric, what about the oil port?

MR. RICHMOND:  Perfectly, the Governor or Parish President Sheng could communicate about that.  The President is inquiring about the oil ports down in Port Fourchon, and the truth and — and exactly where we are there. 

MS. SHENG:  I individually do not have eyes on that scenario.  So, in fact, the only the visual I get is if I see one thing on the nationwide information.  But I never have phrase about that. 

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

2:01 P.M. EDT