Clint Bruce has watched from afar as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the mainland U.S. pummelled his home state of Louisiana, destroying neighbourhoods and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in the late-summer heat.
The Shreveport, La., native, who now lives in Nova Scotia, said Tuesday he still hasn't heard from everyone he knows in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida hit Sunday.
"It hasn't been that easy to get news from people who might be the most directly affected because a lot of people do not have cell services," Bruce told CBC Radio's Information Morning.
Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm with winds that reached 240 km/h. The storm was blamed for at least four deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Residents asked to stay away
Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana warned residents Tuesday not to return to their homes yet, but Bruce said people in the hardest hit areas aren't sure whether their homes are still standing.
Bruce said he has heard from friends and acquaintances who were "a little out of the way" of Ida's destructive path. Some of them lost power, but they did not lose their homes.
He said not many evacuees went north to find shelter in his hometown, but instead went to Mississippi or east to Houston or just far enough away to be out of the storm's trajectory.
Indigenous communities located along the coast could find "the Gulf of Mexico is nearer to their yard" when they return, he said.
"That will probably happen, in this case," said Bruce, the Canada Research Chair in Acadian and transnational studies at the Université Sainte-Anne.
Not only have people lost power and are without tap water, but Bruce said the extreme heat this time of year is "unbearable."
"It adds to health concerns," he said.
With flooding in the streets, downed trees and power lines across roads, Bruce said he expects it will be complicated for ambulances to reach people in need.
His cousin is a nurse at a hospital in Louisiana and said in the weeks leading up to Ida that the facility has been at capacity.
Edwards echoed that statement Tuesday, telling residents that "the hospitals are slammed," and asking them to stay where they are safe and comfortable.
Environment Canada said the remnants of Hurricane Ida are expected to merge with a non-tropical weather system, bringing anywhere from 30 to 60 millimetres of rain to Nova Scotia on Thursday and Friday.
Higher amounts of rain are possible.
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