September 20, 2021

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Biden to travel to New York and New Jersey to assess Hurricane Ida damage – NBC News

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President Joe Biden will travel to Manville, New Jersey and Queens, New York on Tuesday to survey storm damage from Hurricane Ida, according to the White House.

At least 67 hurricane-related deaths have been reported across eight states a week after Ida made landfall in Louisiana. Most of these deaths were reported in New Jersey and New York.

Remnants of Ida unleashed destructive tornadoes as well as record rain and floods across the northeast on Wednesday — killing 27 people in New Jersey, 17 in New York, five in Pennsylvania and one person in Connecticut.

In New York City, most of the fatal victims died in illegally converted basement apartments or cellars, according to the city’s Department of Buildings.

Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said the department is inspecting over a thousand properties across the city’s five boroughs in the aftermath of Ida, NBC New York reported.

“We’ll continue doing everything we can to keep New Yorkers safe in their residences,” she said.

A dozen hurricane-related deaths have been reported in Louisiana so far; five other deaths were also reported in Mississippi, Alabama, and Maryland.

On Saturday, Biden tweeted a message for everyone impacted by Hurricane Ida, saying “we are here for you, and we will get through this together. Keep the faith.”

The president’s trip to New York nearly coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Biden will visit three memorial sites next Saturday to “honor and memorialize” the lives of nearly 3,000 people who were killed that day two decades ago, according the White House.

He will be accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden as he travels to memorial sites in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; and New York City.

The anniversary falls less than two weeks after the end of America’s longest war in Afghanistan. The war was launched weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks to retaliate against the al-Qaida plotters and the Taliban, who provided them safe haven.

Biden has found some support from the public for ending the war. But he also faced sharp criticism, even from allies, over the way the U.S. conducted its withdrawal from Afghanistan — resulting in a series of chaotic events during the final two weeks of August.

On Friday, Biden directed the declassification of certain documents related to the Sept. 11 attacks in a gesture toward victims’ families who have long sought the records in hopes of implicating the Saudi government.

The conflict between the government and the families over what classified information could be made public came into the open last month after many relatives, survivors and first responders said they would object to Biden’s participation in 9/11 memorial events if the documents remained classified.

The Associated Press contributed.

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