President Donald Trump on Saturday visited Louisiana and Texas, pummeled this week by Hurricane Laura though the storm did not inflict the catastrophic damage and death toll of Hurricane Katrina 15 years ago.
Wearing a red “USA” cap, Trump landed in Lake Charles, a Louisiana city of 80,000 people that’s home to petroleum refineries and chemical plants near the Gulf of Mexico.
The president — not wearing a mask despite the coronavirus epidemic in the United States — toured a neighborhood with downed trees and damaged houses, as well as a warehouse.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already distributed 2.6 million liters of water and 1.4 million meals, Trump said, as hundreds of thousands of storm victims are without electricity and running water.
“I haven’t had one complaint,” Trump said, congratulating federal and local officials at a news conference at a fire station.
“Louisiana has been through a lot with the Covid and with this, a couple other things. You’ve done a great job,” he told the officials, who included the state’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.
Hurricane Laura struck the coast of Louisiana early Thursday as a Category 4 storm, packing winds of 150 miles (240 kilometers) an hour.
It has been blamed for at least 14 deaths in Louisiana and Texas, with more than half of them due to improper use of portable generators, which produce toxic carbon monoxide gas.
Trump later flew by helicopter to the nearby city of Orange, Texas, meeting with state officials to discuss their response to Laura.
At a briefing, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he believed the state got through Laura without spreading Covid-19.
“You are helping Texas to rebuild,” Trump told the governor.
Hurricane Katrina, which hit Louisiana in August 2005, caused the widespread failure of the levee system protecting low-lying New Orleans. The storm killed at least 1,800 people.
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