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Ida’s toll continues: 2 more bodies recovered in New Jersey, over 100 oil-soaked birds found

The death toll from Hurricane Ida and its aftermath continues to rise, as locals try to piece their lives back together and officials rescue oil-soaked birds impacted by a storm-related oil spill.

Overall, 84 people have died across eight states due to Ida’s wrath as a Category 4 storm that made landfall Aug. 29. In the Northeast alone, 54 have died.

The death toll in New Jersey rose to 29 Friday after Passaic City Mayor Hector C. Lora said two bodies recovered from the Passaic River Wednesday and Thursday were identified as the two individuals reported missing the day the storm hit the state.

They were identified as friends Nidhi Rana, 18 and Ayush Rana, 21, by the Regional Medical Examiner in the state, Lora said in a press conference Friday.

Search and rescue crews had searched through the river throughout the week. Nidhi’s body was discovered in the water near Kearny Wednesday and Ayush’s body was found the following day near the border of Newark, authorites said.

They were last seen in the Passaic trying to escape their car that swept away in the torrential flood waters triggered by Ida’s remnants and devastating rains, Lora previously said.

“They were both our prom king and queen this year… they were avid tennis players and members of community and school clubs,” Lora said.

Another man had died in floodwaters in Passaic.

Luis Jalil-Solarzario, 70, of Clifton, died on Sept. 1 when his car got submerged in flood waters, but his wife, 66, and son, 25 were able to be rescued by firefighters, Lora announced last week.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, on Wednesday the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office confirmed an 11 additional storm-related deaths, bringing the state death total from Ida to 26.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said Ida also affected animals in the state, with more than 100 oil-slicked birds documented from a hurricane-related oil spill at Alliance Refinery in Belle Chasse.

The oiled birds have been spotted in heavy pockets of crude oil throughout the facility, nearby flooded fields and retention ponds, the agency said.

The birds affected have been identified as black-bellied whistling ducks, blue-winged teal and a variety of egret species. Other wildlife observed with some degree of oiling include alligators, river otters and nutria.

Officials say the recovery effect may take weeks.

So far 10 oiled birds have been captured and taken to a rehabilitation center for cleaning. Five additional dead birds were recovered as evidence, The Associated Press reported.

Power continues to slowly return to Louisiana, where more than one million were left in the dark in the immediate aftermath of Ida.

Twelve days after Ida hit, more than 80% of power has been restored to 948,000 Entergy utility company customers in the South who lost power due to the hurricane, the company said in a Friday update.

In Louisiana 166,000 remain without power and 76% of customers have had energy restored so far. In New Orleans about 1,000 remain in the dark, the company said Friday.

Source:

abcnews.go.com

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