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President Biden Visits Queens to Assess Storm Damage from Hurricane Ida

President Joseph Biden delivers remarks on 87th Street — a block hit hard by Hurricane Ida — in East Elmhurst (Screenshot via White House livestream)

Sept. 7, 2021 By Allie Griffin

President Joseph Biden visited Queens Tuesday to assess the damage from Hurricane Ida and speak to families afflicted by the destructive storm.

Biden met with local elected officials in the borough, where 11 people were killed last week when homes, businesses and streets were flooded with several feet of water.

He joined Gov. Kathy Hochul, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and others on an East Elmhurst block to speak to residents whose homes were filled with roughly seven feet of water last Wednesday.

“I wish every American could see and walk down this alley with me to see and talk to the people who’ve been devastated,” Biden said of the stretch of 87th Street.

“This is America, where I’m standing right now,” he added. “These are the people … who built this country and it’s about time we step up.”

Biden approved New York State’s emergency declaration late Thursday in a move that will provide federal support to the recovery effort.

He said he and the legislators standing behind him at the press conference Tuesday would ensure residents on the block and in other hard hit areas would get the help they needed.

Residents clean up after the remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded their homes on 87th Street in East Elmhurst (Darren McGee/Office of the Governor)

“My message to everyone grappling with this devastation is we’re here, we’re not going home until this gets done,” Biden said. “…We’re going to continue to shout as long as it takes to get real progress here.”

The president also spoke of the storm’s strength as a sign of the dangers of climate change. Ida slammed the five boroughs with the greatest single-hour rainfall in city history — which broke a record set less than two weeks earlier.

“Climate change poses an existential threat to our lives, to our economy and the threat is here,” Biden said. “It’s not going to get any better. The question [is] can it get worse?”

He added that the experts have warned that climate change is now at “code red.”

“The nation and the world are in peril,” Biden said. “And that’s not hyperbole. That is fact.”

Biden has authorized the federal government to provide individuals with disaster grants of up to $34,000.

Those affected by the storm can apply for federal assistance at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

There is also federal help available for small business owners on the site. Owners can also call the city’s small business hotline at 888-727-4692.

The city has also set up an Ida recovery service center in Woodside at M.S. 125, located at 46-02 47th Ave. The center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is a one-stop shop to access help from several city agencies and community-based organizations.

More information on available assistance and services can be found here.

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