- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2021

The White House said Friday it is dispatching a “surge response” team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help Louisiana respond to Hurricane Ida as it careens across the Gulf of Mexico toward New Orleans and the surrounding coast.

“We have been working to provide direct assistance and even get ahead of the storm,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

FEMA is sending paramedics and ambulances, plus personnel who can shift patients around to maintain hospital capacity as the state suffers from an overload of COVID-19 patients.

Mr. Biden is scheduled to speak late Friday with Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who declared a state of emergency Thursday before the storm makes landfall — possibly by Sunday.

“Unfortunately, all of Louisiana’s coastline is currently in the forecast cone for Ida, which is strengthening and could come ashore in Louisiana as a major hurricane as Gulf conditions are conducive for rapid intensification,” the governor said. “Now is the time for people to finalize their emergency game plan, which should take into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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