“I just feel sick to my stomach,” Hazami Barmada told NewsNationNow.com. “The anticipation of not knowing what’s going to happen to your home, returning and finding all of your memories just dissolved into the waters.”
Barmada lost everything during Katrina. The hurricane ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi exactly 16 years ago Sunday.
“We would dig through the streets, trying to find leftover belongings of our family,” Barmada said. “I know that will be the fate of a lot of people as they return to their homes, and see what destruction actually took place and what destruction happened.”
Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths as it caused levee breaches and catastrophic flooding in New Orleans and demolished oceanfront homes in Mississippi.
Barmada has since moved away, but returned to Mississippi to check on her parents.
“Every couple of minutes, we just run to look out the back to see,” Barmada said. “Is it flooding? How close is it getting? When will it come in? And it’s those feelings that I don’t know what to do with and I don’t think I ever will know what to do with.”
Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm. Its hurricane-force winds stretched 50 miles from the storm’s eye, or about half the size of Katrina, and a New Orleans’ infrastructure official emphasized that the city is in a “very different place than it was 16 years ago.”
“It just seems like the storms are increasing or maybe we’re just much more aware of them,” Barmada said. “Their intensity is increasing, the frequency is increasing. And it’s uninhabitable to a certain degree, you know, where we have to live in the state of anticipation and fear every time a storm lurks around the horizons or we think it will hit.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.