President Joe Biden visited New York City Tuesday, Sept. 7, touring a section of Queens that was among the worst hit by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida last week.
Biden walked an alley near 88th Street and Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst with local electeds, where floods rose dangerously high during the record-shattering rainfall last week, and the commander-in-chief said that now is the time for “bold action” to combat climate change, which has made extreme weather more frequent and ferocious.
“My message to everyone grappling with this devastation is: We’re here, we’re not going home until this gets done — I really mean that,” Biden told reporters. “We’re not leaving, we’re going to continue to shout as long as it takes to get real progress here.”
“We have to take some bold action now to tackle the accelerating effects of climate [change],” he said.
The neighborhood suffered catastrophic floods when the storm hit the Big Apple on the night of Wednesday, Sept. 1, killing 13 people citywide, and Biden said seeing the damage first-hand in the working-class, immigrant neighborhood was an “eye-opener.”
“This is America, where I’m standing right now. These are the people… who built this country and it’s about time we step up,” he said. “They’re always the first ones that are hurt and the last ones that are helped, but that’s not gonna happen this time.”
The extreme weather has also caused at least $50 million in damage to public infrastructure and property when it hit the city on the night of Wednesday, Sept. 1, and more than 1,200 homes were damaged due to the record-shattering downpour of rain, according to state and federal experts.
The president pushed for lawmakers in Congress to pass the infrastructure bill and the budget reconciliation legislation to boost the country’s infrastructure, citing his own Build Back Better proposal.
“You can’t build what it was before this last storm, you gotta build better so if the storm occurred again, there would be no damage,” he said. “Folks, we’ve gotta 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.”
Biden’s administration approved a Major Disaster Declaration on Monday unlocking a boost in federal storm recovery aid to local governments and directly to New York City residents through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The financial support includes repairs or replacement of people’s property damaged in the storm; moving and storage; medical, dental, and child care; crisis counseling; unemployment assistance; and legal services.
He arrived at JFK Airport Tuesday morning and traveled to meet with leaders in New Jersey, before returning to the Big Apple to visit Queens with Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other local politicians.
There he is pic.twitter.com/QA1pn0gzm0
— Kevin Duggan (@kduggan16) September 7, 2021
To apply for federal assistance related to Ida, go to disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA.