Biden set to speak on Hurricane Ida relief efforts
By Jeff Zeleny and Kate Sullivan, CNN
(CNN) -- President Joe Biden is set to speak Monday afternoon on Hurricane Ida relief efforts as he meets virtually with a host of leaders involved in the response to the massive storm that has rocked the Gulf Coast.
Biden will meet with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and governors and mayors from states and cities affected by Ida after the storm made landfall on Sunday in Louisiana and caused catastrophic damage. A White House official told CNN that Biden would speak on the relief efforts this afternoon.
At least one person is dead and nearly half of the state is without power, including the entire city of New Orleans. State officials have begun search and rescue efforts. Ida has since weakened to a tropical storm, but life-threatening flash flooding has drawn on into Monday.
The White House said the President would be receiving regular briefings throughout the day from his homeland security team on the effects of the hurricane.
Ida made landfall in Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It has tied with 2020's Hurricane Laura and the Last Island Hurricane of 1856 as the strongest on record to hit the state.
Biden has approved the state of Louisiana's request for a major federal disaster declaration and the state of Mississippi's request for an emergency declaration. These declarations allow federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Ida.
The President visited FEMA's headquarters in Washington on Sunday to receive a briefing on the storm. He warned the hurricane was a "life-threatening storm" and said "its devastation is likely to be immense."
"As soon as the storm passes, we're going to put this -- we're going to put the country's full might behind the rescue recovery, and I mean that," Biden added.
The President said he had been in touch with the governors of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and that his team had been in touch with other state, local and federal officials in the region.
Biden said equipment and response teams had been positioned in the region, including 2.5 million meals, 3 million liters of water and generators. He said more than 100 ambulances and emergency medical teams had been activated and that his administration had been working with local partners to open "dozens and dozens" of shelters.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday that clean up from Hurricane Ida "is going to be a fairly long ordeal." He said the state's efforts remain focused on saving lives and that thousands had been deployed to help with search and rescue efforts.
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