President Trump serves meals to residents effected by Hurricane Florence

Federico Mansilla
Setiembre 20, 2018

In North Carolina, thousands are still staying in shelters after Florence touched down as a hurricane.

"We're ready.to do whatever we have to do to make this ideal", Trump said Wednesday.

"The money will be a lot, but it's going to come as fast as you need it", he said at the briefing.

"Have a good time" seems to be Trump's hurricane catchphrase.

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

After talking to more residents in New Bern, Trump traveled nearly 15o miles southwest to Conway, South Carolina, a city of nearly 24,000 that has seen record flood levels that surpassed levels from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Compounding the problem, storm runoff from North Carolina - which was battered by Florence - is now flowing through the Palmetto State via the Yadkin-Pee Dee drainage basin, which terminates in Winyah Bay near Georgetown, S.C.

The president later told reporters the homeowner told Trump his insurance company didn't want to pay for the damage, according to the report. "We will never leave your side and to all those impacted by this bad storm, our entire American family is with you and ready to help".

Trump is also applauding organizers and thanking volunteers at the site as well as posing for photos and hugging volunteers, including a young boy. Critics said the Trump administration was slow to recognize the extent of the damage and slow to help.

Rivers keep rising in Carolinas as Trump tours Florence 'nightmare' aftermath
Flooding expected to worsen as Florence passes through Carolinas

"There was something missing from what President Trump said ... the empathy for the people who suffer", former president George W. Bush's press secretary Ari Fleischer told Fox News afterward.

"I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to", Gov. Roy Cooper said as officials began distributing supplies to thousands of residents of Wilmington, population 120,000.

Ahead of his trip, the president praised the first responders and people who live in the areas affected in a video posted to his Twitter account.

The Department of Energy is working with 40,000 individuals from 19 States and Canada to restore power to the region, and is seeing significant progress in its efforts.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has deployed 136 personnel, successfully installing or pre-positioning over 110 generators, with more expected.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has conducted over 2,000 rescues in the region and is sheltering almost 15,000 people. To date the Coast Guard has saved over 400 lives and 200 pets.

Officials previously had estimated that about 1.7 million chickens had drowned and that the number of potential hog deaths was unknown.

You can read the full statement here.

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