President Donald Trump on Saturday assured Texas and Louisiana that the federal government “will take care of you” as he toured areas hit by Category 4 Hurricane Laura, which killed at least 16 people and left more than 650,000 without power.
Trump met with first responders and local officials and was briefed on emergency operations and relief efforts in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Orange, Texas, days after the storm with 150 mile-per-hour winds made landfall, according to USA Today.
“One thing I know about this state, it rebuilds fast,” Trump told Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, FEMA Director Pete Gaynor, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, and congressmen in Lake Charles, a city of 80,000 residents.
Trump said the death toll of 16 people is “a tremendous number, but you were thinking it could be, could have been, a lot worse,” according to The Epoch Times.
“This was a tremendously powerful storm. We have to take care of Louisiana. We have to take care of Texas,” USA Today quoted the president as saying. “We’ll supply what we have to supply and you know what a lot of that is, a thing called green. We’ll take care of you.”
The toll from the hurricane rose to 16 deaths Saturday, according to The Associated Press, which said more than half of them were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said the National Guard will start giving out tarps to residents to cover damaged roofs on Sunday.
Katlyn Smith, 24, a resident of the Jesse James trailer park in Lake Charles, found the roof of her two-bedroom trailer damaged and the walls folded in. “There is a time to cry and to be sad and there’s a time to pick up, too. You have to pick yourself up and keeping going and my strength comes from God and my fiancé,” the newswire quoted her as saying.
The hurricane also damaged buildings, felled trees and cut power to more than 650,000 people in the two states.
On Friday, Trump signed a disaster declaration for Louisiana. “Now it turned out we got a little bit lucky. It was very big. It was very powerful but it passed quickly,” he said at the time.
The Christian charity Convoy of Hope distributed relief supplies Saturday. The charity’s Disaster Services team handed out food, water, and clean-up supplies.
“Lake Charles is facing enormous challenges — the entire city is without power, nor water,” the group says on its website. “As residents come back to the devastation, they’ll be in need of food, water, and relief supplies.”
Convoy of Hope says it will also start door-to-door distribution as soon as affected neighborhoods become accessible.