By Mario Villar
New York City, United States, Sep 7 (EFE).- The United States president defended Tuesday the need for “bold” action to tackle the “accelerating effects” of climate change after surveying the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida in the country’s northeast.
Joe Biden visited New Jersey and New York, the two states in the region worst hit by heavy rain last week and linked this and other disasters directly to global warming.
“Every part of the country is getting hit by extreme weather. And we’re now living in real time what the country is going to look like,” said the president, pointing to the fires along the west coast and the flooding on the east coast as examples.
“And if we don’t do something — we can’t turn it back very much, but we can prevent it from getting worse” he added, stressing the need for decisive and urgent action.
“I think we’re at one of those inflection points where we either act or we’re going to be — we’re going to be in real, real trouble. Our kids are going to be in real trouble,” he insisted.
A few hours later, in New York City’s Queens borough, he said that “people are beginning to realize this is much, much bigger than anyone was willing to believe.”
“And so, folks, we got to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts. They all tell us this is code red; the nation and the world are in peril. And that’s not hyperbole. That is a fact,” he added.
Biden defended the need for the US to take decisive action and, at the same time, convince the rest of the world to do so as well.
The US president also took the opportunity to try to promote his infrastructure bill, which includes climate measures and is pending approval by congress.
The Biden administration asked congress on Tuesday for $24 billion in additional funding to respond to recent natural disasters, including Hurricane Ida.
Biden toured some of the neighborhoods worst affected by flooding, first in Manville, New Jersey and then in Queens, New York, entering homes to see the damage first-hand and talking with some of the residents.
In his speeches, the president promised financial assistance to the victims for temporary housing and home repairs as well as to cover losses caused by the flooding.
Biden also “approved major disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey to quickly make federal funding available for those who need it and to help fund emergency work and repairs,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
Ida struck New York City last week after being downgraded to a tropical storm.
It left a total of 50 people dead in the northeastern region of the US.
New Jersey was the worst affected, with 27 deaths and four missing as vehicles were swept away by floodwaters, according to the latest count.
In New York City, 13 people died, including 11 who lived in illegal basement apartments that turned into death traps for the residents, many of them immigrants. EFE