US President Trump on Saturday visited Lousiana and Texas states where he surveyed the damage from Hurricane Laura and pledged the federal government’s support in helping communities recover from the powerful storm.
“We have to take care of Louisiana and we have to take care of Texas. Texas got a little bit lucky,” Trump said, indicating the Lone Star State avoided greater impact from the hurricane.
Billionaire Trump, clad in a red U.S.A. cap, first arrived in Lousiana where the Category 4 hurricane roared ashore early Thursday, packing 150 mph winds. He received a briefing on emergency operations and ongoing relief efforts in Lake Charles.
Trump joined Gov. John Bel Edwards, D-La., FEMA director Peter Gaynor, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and others for a tour of a hard-hit neighbourhood where a giant tree fell to the ground.
The U.S. death toll from the Category 4 hurricane rose to 16 Saturday, with more than half of those killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from unsafe operation of generators. The latest deaths from poisoning included an 80-year-old woman and an 84-year-old man.
The destructive storm surge from Hurricane Laura receded, and the cleanup has begun, but officials in southwestern Louisiana are warning returning residents they will face weeks without power or water amid the stifling days of late summer.
Trump said the federal government is assisting state and local officials on restoring water to roughly 180,000 residents and protecting the energy infrastructure in Louisiana.
“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones,” Trump said.
Trump then travelled to Orange, Texas, where he met Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other local officials to discuss the emergency response and how the federal government can help with power and water restoration.
Abbott thanked Trump for the swift response on approving Texas’s disaster declaration.
“You have been there for us every step of the way helping us,” Abbott said. “Never have I seen such a swift response to a request.”