US President Joe Biden visited storm-hit New York and New Jersey on Tuesday, inspecting the damage caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
It comes just days after he visited devastated Louisiana – a trail of destruction the Democrat blames on climate change.
The storm struck the US Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing major flooding and shutting down power to large parts of the region.
Ida’s remnants then caught authorities in the New York region by surprise, with ferocious rainfall triggering flash flooding.
More than 65 people died across eight states.
“The nation and the world are in peril, that’s not hyperbole. That is a fact. They’ve been warning us the extreme weather would get more extreme over the decade and we’re living it in real-time now.”
“We can look around the records and the ruins and the heartbreak from so many communities, to feel it – it’s not an understanding, you can feel it, you can taste it, you can see it,” Biden said.
The White House will ask Congress to provide more than €8 billion to help recovery.
But it comes at a time the president is trying to push Congress to pass a huge infrastructure proposal for new roads and transport systems, including major funding for the green economy.
Biden argues that extreme weather across the US this summer is just a preview of the worse to come.
“For decades, scientists have warned of extreme weather,” Biden said at a meeting with emergency management officials in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey.
“We’re living through it now. Every part of the country is getting hit by extreme weather. Systemic upgrading of the nation’s infrastructure is an urgent part of the solution.”
Biden argued that things could not be rebuilt the way they were before, because another devastating tornado or another 10 inches of rain will produce the same kind of results.
The president said the country needs to act now or they will be “in real, real trouble”, with effects affecting the future generations.
And while one part of the country buckles under hurricane fallout, California and other parts of the west still struggle to combat wildfires.
With his presidency strained by the aftermath of the Afghanistan pullout and a surge in coronavirus infections at home, Biden faces difficult coming weeks, including a struggle to get his infrastructure plans through a very divided Congress.
The White House hopes that the dramatic impact from Hurricane Ida will galvanize action on the spending bills.
“It’s imperative that we act on addressing the climate crisis and investing… through his ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, which is working its way through Congress,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
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