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Cedric Richmond and President Biden at a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on July 22. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday said his administration is "working around the clock" to respond to damage from Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday.

Driving the news: Biden said White House senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond would lead Hurricane Ida recovery efforts. Richmond was a Louisiana congressman for 10 years.

  • Biden also said he directed Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to "use all of the tools at her disposal, including using a strategic petroleum reserve, to keep gas flowing to the pumps."
  • To ensure cell service for residents of Louisiana, Biden said he asked the Federal Communications Commission to work with cell phone companies to allow customers to use roaming services — regardless of their phone carrier.
  • "My message to the people in the Gulf Coast ... we are here for you. And we're making sure the response and recovery is equitable," Biden said Thursday. "So that those hit hardest get the resources they need, and are not left behind."

What he's saying: "I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the first responders, and everyone who has been working through the night, well into the morning to save lives," Biden said of the flooding that happened overnight in New York and New Jersey from remnants of Ida.

  • "My message to everyone affected: we're all in this together. The nation is here to help. That's the message I've been making clear to the mayors, governors, energy, utility leads in the region."
  • "The past few days of Hurricane Ida and the wildfires in the West and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here," Biden said, adding that extreme weather is "one of the great challenges of our time."

The big picture: Ida tore through Louisiana and Mississippi earlier this week, claiming at least four lives and leaving nearly 1 million people in Louisiana without power — four days after the storm hit the state.

  • Power outages in Louisiana could last at least a month, CNN reports.
  • Additionally, 65.8% of gas stations in Baton Rouge and 65.2% in New Orleans don’t have gas, according to reports compiled by GasBuddy.
  • New York and New Jersey also experienced historic rainfall and flash flooding, killing at least 15 people, from the remnants of Hurricane Ida and other storm systems.
  • Preliminary data from NASA Earth suggests Ida was the fifth-strongest storm "ever to make landfall in the continental U.S."

What to watch: Biden is set to visit Louisiana on Friday in the aftermath of the storm.

Go deeper: In photos: Ida's impact across the U.S.

Go deeper

Oct 12, 2021 - Science

Weather and climate disasters have cost the U.S. over $100 billion in 2021

Piles of debris is all that's left of a restaurant after heavy rain from remnants of Hurricane Ida came through in Manville, New Jersey, on Sept. 7. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Weather and climate disasters in 2021 have killed 538 people in the U.S. and cost over $100 billion, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Why it matters: The first nine months of 2021 saw the largest number of billion-dollar disasters in a calendar year so far, with 2021 on pace for second behind 2020, per the report.

9 mins ago - World

Israel to approve new construction in West Bank settlements

Bennett (L) and Biden discussed the settlements issue. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Israel will approve the construction of 4,400 new homes in the West Bank next week: 3,10o in the Jewish settlements and 1,300 in Palestinian villages.

Why it matters: This will be the first time Israel has approved new settlement-building since President Biden assumed office, and the first time since 2007 that it approves a significant number of new homes for Palestinians in "Area C" of the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel.

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 229-202 on Thursday to hold former Trump strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The Justice Department will now consider bringing criminal charges against Bannon, marking a significant escalation in the Jan. 6 committee's efforts to enforce subpoenas against Trump allies who refuse to cooperate.