The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

After Ida, small recovery signs amid destructio­n

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Lights came back on for a fortunate few, some corner stores opened their doors and crews cleared fallen trees and debris from a growing number of roadways Wednesday — small signs of progress amid the monumental task of repairing the damage inflicted by Hurricane Ida.

Still, suffering remained widespread three days after Ida battered Louisiana and parts of Mississipp­i as the fifth-most-powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. Some low-lying communitie­s remained largely underwater. Roughly a million homes and businesses still had no electricit­y, and health officials said more than 600,000 people lacked running water.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was pleased that power had returned for some people, saying it was “critically important to show progress” after the storm. But he also acknowledg­ed that much more work lay ahead.

“I’m very mindful that it’s a start, and only a start,” he told a news conference.

The death toll rose to at least six after a coroner confirmed a 65-year-old woman had drowned in her Louisiana home and police in Maryland said a 19-year-old man was found dead in an apartment complex flooded by heavy rain from Ida’s remnants. And the staggering scope of the disaster began to come into focus, with a private firm estimating total damage from Ida could exceed $50 billion.

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