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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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35 Comments

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It's pudding time!

Biden needed to stop for his tapioca break and nap. He could not care less. Just another photo up for the fraud. You’re on your own, Queens residents, like our brave men were at the Kabul airport.

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J. Lynch

For It’s pudding time!: yep it was handled poorly. But 20 years and 2000+ service persons later this was way past its expiration date, and he got us out. Bush Jr., Obama & Trump failed to do it. So he can take as many “tapioca breaks” and “naps” as he’d like.

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the man is a lost cause

7 months of pure chaos and mismanagement, afghanistan crisis, border crisis, covid crisis, vaccine crisis, crime crisis, inflation etc. Now he’s bringing his problem solving superpowers to help queens, yay!!

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The Fox Narrative

Just passing the Fox narrative is not fact nor opinion. There is no boarder crisis, most illegals come by plane and just overstay their visas. Less coming over southern boarder now than under Trump but Fox says now it’s crisis. Hahaha Illegals are also hired by Republicans. Inflation after a period of deflation. That’s a distortion many many things are still cheaper than pre-pandemic. The only vaccine crisis is due to the unvaccinated and those in the Republican regions of the South in what’s now a regional pandemic. Covid crisis is the “unvaccinated” crisis. You’re being redundant Crime crisis, Trump is a one man crime wave. Fact! Afghanistan cris? Trump said he squared that deal with the Taliban. I saw him Fox News praising his deal. Fox was wrong about NYC’ census loss, Uranium One, police retirements due to protests and dominion, just to name a few. A history of being wrong and the propaganda they’re telling you to spread is still wrong. Hahaha

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Trump signed Stormy Daniels Check

Biden is still better than the fool who danced around disrespecting an American Flag at CPAC calling the pandemic a hoax. The guy who suggested shooting Clorox into people’s arms. The dotard who inherited a booming economy and left office with a recession and stock market crash. He closed the pandemic office where a pandemic broke out. That’s sound decision making. Hahaha

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Concerned Citizen who cares for others

Back in 2010-2012, I lived in walk-up apartment in Brooklyn with many infestations…You name the species, this apartment had it. The bedbugs were the worst though…mentally and physically deteriorating.

So, I started looking for apartments in my Brooklyn neighborhood, and the only places in my price range were basements, or living with roommates. I didn’t want a basement or roommates, so I moved to an area with cheaper rent.

But, the basements probably met code to be listed for rent by brokers. Maybe they weren’t as flood prone as these places in Elmhurst, but how would Elmhurst be so much more flood-prone than other areas? Is their drainage worse for some reason? If so, what other areas are prone to this issue in the near future?

I have been on roadways in Queens where one or more lanes are flooded from clogged drains, and that’s probably all it takes. One reason I didn’t choose a basement apartment, aside from having no natural light and being depressing….

But, a clogged drain (external, city infrastructure) can happen anywhere, and when whatever structure the contains the standing water fails, a rapid flood can occur.

It really surprised me and dismayed me that NYC had a larger death toll than NOLA, where the actual storm hit and Katrina devastated, no offense to New Orleans…I love that city and area.

The city REALLY needs to concentrate on its infrastructure. Just like city housing and homeless shelter hotels, the city is only focusing oon the short-term voter. Much the same as parge corporations are focusing on short-term investments, which is leading to hyper-inflation, degraded quality, and out-sourcing. All of this is at the detriment of the common person, but CATEGORIZED and listed as being a good thing!

We need to invest in the future, and its not pipe dreams of world peace and green energy. Please educate yourself. Those industries are being transferred to the highest bidder. afollow the money.

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Mac

Concerned citizen – Much of Elmhurst and Woodside was swamp land. It’s similar to the reason why the office buildings in lower Manhattan around Water Street now flood on a regular basis. Reclaimed land. Zoning laws are in place for a reason and they need to be enforced.

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Gardens Watcher

Good that President Biden visited Queens. Nothing like seeing the damage in person.

Some homes got hit bad, while the next house had very little problems. Giving a big shout out to the Department of Sanitation. They’ve been doing a great job, working all weekend and on Labor Day.

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Sergio

I’m thinking that just “cleaning” these apartments is nowhere near sufficient. They have been flooded with water that has who know what in it. And the interior walls have been soaked through and through which means mold will start to grow almost immediately. And the mold can cause devastating health problems later on. These walls have to be stripped and dried and free of mold before they can be redone. The city should hire local contractors especially minorities to inspect homes and assess damages.

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Rosita

Basements are totally unsuitable and dangerous places to live, yet they are what lower income people can afford. We need to build safe housing for people to live in. Now.

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Joe’s nanny

Too bad for the families of our military who were blown up at the airport thanks to empathy joe
Nothing to see let’s move on
This clown does not even know what day of the week it is

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Why does the Radical Right want everything to be PC?

Too bad you weren’t there to be a part of it! 😆

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Nice going Sunnyside lost

I hope someone files police report against the guy wishing death on someone
Probably hates troops also

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Harriet

Legalize all basement apartments with 2 ways of entering and exiting and then raise all basement apartments rent to market value and require tenants to get rental insurance. This way poor people will not be able to rent them and house 10 people.

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Reality Check

Yes, Biden just oozes what passes for feel good photogenic compassion ..unless of course you’re a US citizen or ally he’s left abandoned in Afghanistan in his rush to declare exit in time for 9/11 speeches..then he could care less frankly

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The art of the deal

Reality- Trump said Afghanistan was complete and result of Trumps ability to close a deal and was a done deal. Google it!

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Trump does Putin’s bidding

Com- We weren’t out until the summer of 2021. Trump was long gone by then. He negotiated with taliban on behalf of Putin

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Were you trying to say "couldn't care less" or...?

He “could care less” means that he DOES care. Another very stable genius we’ve got here 😂

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Tom

Actually Joe: these aren’t the people who built this country. Most have probably just come here and contributed very little to the growth of the country. You’re just using poetic license to get votes.

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Niney

Biden has compassion and empathy. Trump would of cared less about any minority communities affected by this tragedy or climate change. At least Biden made a effort.

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Anthony

Biden at least visited a disaster zone compare to the previous Clown president who was afraid of messing his golf shoes!

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Laura

The sewer system built in the early 1950s for single family houses is now serving multi-family dwellings and high-rises, and is totally inadequate even under normal rainfall, for instance. But the real cause in most cases is the greedy homeowner who buys a single-family house he cannot afford in a zoned area that does not permit multi-family dwellings, and illegally converts his basement to a rental to help him pay his mortgage. He won’t apply for a permit because he won’t get one. And he won’t bring the illegal apartment up to code, especially by adding a second means of exit, because that would be a major investment and cut into his rental profits. Two of my neighbors barely made it out with their life. A few blocks away, a family was not so lucky. The landlords are responsible, and in my opinion, should be prosecuted for manslaughter.

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Herry

The city doesn’t need to spend billions on the sewer system. Just clear the leaves and garbage off the sewer drains. Hire homeless people to do it. Give them 5.00/ hour and a coupon for McDonalds and they will be happy and no more floods.

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Sherry

Just for him to walk around and see the devastation for himself says a lot as a leader. I’m with the residents who say now is not the time for division. We have to show unity during our struggles. Residents in Queens are living in basements because they can not afford ground level homes. Most that died were POC. Will landlords of illegal basement apartments face criminal charges?

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Anon

If people cannot afford to live in ground level homes in a given neighborhood then they cannot afford to live in that neighborhood. This isn’t rocket science.

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Michelle

My heart goes out to the victims of hurricane Ida, it’s good to see President Biden addressing this issue in our neighborhood. This extreme weather is becoming more frequent and more widespread.

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