Donald Trump gets first-hand look at Hurricane Florence damage

Federico Mansilla
Setiembre 20, 2018

"We've never had it at those levels before, so we don't really know what the impact will be just yet", he said. "There will be nothing left undone".

The storm has caused widespread damage, and almost 40 deaths across the Carolinas and Virginia.

Kinston Police in North Carolina also posted a video on Facebook showing clumps of fire ants in flood waters, warning residents to stay safe.

U.S. President Donald Trump stands in front of a damaged sailboat while touring Hurricane Florence damage in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 19, 2018. The president made similar comments previous year while addressing victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, a storm over which Trump continues to face criticism in terms of his response.

President Trump descended from his jumbo jet onto Cherry Point this morning to assess the damage from Hurricane Florence and was met with an array of local and federal politicians. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, and South Carolina Sens. Trump said, without offering evidence, that Democrats had inflated the figure to make him look bad.

"You gotta take care of home", Jordan told The Charlotte Observer newspaper.

Handing out hot dogs, hugs and comforting words, President Donald Trump sought Wednesday to soothe those who suffered losses in Hurricane Florence, declaring that "America grieves for you" as he surveyed damage the powerful storm left behind.

With Wilmington still mostly an island surrounded by Hurricane Florence's floodwaters and people waiting for hours for handouts of necessities like food, North Carolina's governor is pleading with thousands of evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.

In Lumberton, where the Lumber River still covered parts of town, water was deep enough that vehicles passing by on streets sent wakes into partially submerged homes, businesses and a church.

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"All my stuff is gone", she said.

North Carolina is one of the leading US hog-producing states and the floodwaters have caused 21 hog "lagoons", which store waste from pig farms, to overflow, creating a risk of standing water contaminated with bacteria like salmonella, according to the state's Department of Environmental Quality.

State officials in North Carolina now say 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs have been killed in flooding from Florence. Flooding has also impacted areas such as Fayetteville and Kinston, where the Neuse River was still rising.

"That thing is a total loss", Billy Sanderson told CNN affiliate WNCT, his voice breaking.

At least 27 of the 37 Florence-related deaths happened in North Carolina. The dump is adjacent to the Waccamaw River, which is expected to crest at almost 20 feet (6 meters) this weekend.

At least 16 rivers remained at a major flood stage, with 3 others set to crest in the coming days in North Carolina, the state said.

Officials in the Carolinas are anxious about what deaths are still to come amid the swelling rivers and flooding from Florence's crawl across both states.

Local authorities were keeping an eye on rivers that were expected to crest throughout the day Tuesday, in some cases exceeding the levels of Hurricane Matthew.

In a subsequent settlement with federal regulators, Duke agreed to plead guilty to nine Clean Water Act violations and pay $102 million in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.

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