President Trump surveys Hurricane Laura storm damage
Houston: US President Donald Trump on Saturday travelled to Texas and Louisiana to take stock of the damage by one of the most catastrophic hurricane Laura that ripped apart homes and businesses as it slammed over gulf coast as a Category 4 storm this week with 150-mph winds.
The storm was just a few miles per hour away from being a Category 5 hurricane on record and one of the most powerful storms to make landfall in the US history.
Trump visited Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Orange, Texas, and met first responders and local officials who are beginning to recover from the Category 4 storm, which made landfall Thursday.
Shortly after landing at Chennault International Airport, he made a stopover at a warehouse in Lake Charles to survey the Cajun Navy's operation in the area in the wake of Hurricane Laura.
The warehouse appeared to be holding supplies for those in need. He was joined here by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, FEMA Director Pete Gaynor and Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump travelled with federal and state officials in a motorcade to assess the storm damage.
Edwards led the President and Pete Gaynor, the FEMA administrator, on a tour of a badly damaged neighbourhood near downtown where workers were clearing a giant fallen tree.
The President and the others then walked to a nearby fire station in Fire District 1 for a briefing from first-responders, local leaders and FEMA personnel. Trump said he will support recovery efforts with federal resources.
"We'll supply what we have to supply and you know what a lot of that is, a thing called green," Trump said. "We'll take care of you."
"This was a tremendously powerful storm," Trump said in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
"We have to take care of Louisiana. We have to take care of Texas," the President, sporting a red hat with "USA" embossed on the front and "Trump" on back, said during his visit.
"I just visited the Cajun Navy and relief centre. They're fantastic," the President said during his address Saturday. He also thanked pastors and people of faith in Louisiana helping families and communities to recover.
During an address and conversation with officials in Lake Charles, Trump praised the state's ability to recover and pledged to supply whatever was needed.
"One thing I know about this state: They rebuild it fast. No problem," he said. "And we'll supply what we have to supply”.
"We'll take care of you," the president added, saying he would be speaking to officials.
“Our hearts go out to families who lost loved ones,” Trump said during his visit Saturday.
Trump travelled to Orange, Texas to survey the damage thereafter his stop in Lake Charles.
The President flew in Marine One from Lake Charles to Orange for a closer look at storm damage.
He also received storm recovery updates from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Orange County Judge John Gothia, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames as well as other local officials and leaders from FEMA and TDEM.
Texas Governor Abbott said the federal response to Laura is among the fastest he has experienced, and he credited President Trump's actions.
Abbott said Trump called him at midnight Thursday as the storm was making landfall for an on-the-ground update on the impacts Texas was experiencing.
Orange was among the worst-hit areas in Texas. Though the damage was far less than in next-door Lake Charles, parts of the area are expected to be without power and water for several weeks
Hurricane Laura left tens of thousands without power and has been blamed for at least 16 deaths
The president issued a major disaster declaration Friday night before his visit. Governor John Bel Edwards thanked the president.
“I appreciate President Trump's quick action on my request for a major disaster declaration, which will pave the way for getting aid to individuals and communities impacted by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana," Edwards said.
More than 4,00,000 customers in Louisiana still didn't have power Saturday, mostly in southwest and western parishes, according to utility company reports.
The Louisiana Department of Health estimated that more than 220,000 people were without water. Restoration of those services could take weeks or months, and full rebuilding could take years.
Forty nursing homes were relying on generators, and assessments were underway to determine if more than 860 residents in 11 facilities that had been evacuated could return. PTI