Friday 22 September 2017

President visits areas left devastated by hurricane

US President Donald Trump (centre), Vice President Mike Pence and First Lady Melania Trump pose for a selfie as they help serve food to some of the people affected by Hurricane Irma. Photo: Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (centre), Vice President Mike Pence and First Lady Melania Trump pose for a selfie as they help serve food to some of the people affected by Hurricane Irma. Photo: Getty Images

James Oliphant

US President Donald Trump arrived in storm-ravaged Florida yesterday to survey the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma, the second major storm to hit the United States this year, which killed dozens and has left millions without power.

Mr Trump's visit came the day after police in Hollywood, Florida, launched a criminal investigation into a nursing home where eight patients died after the facility lost power and continued to operate with little or no air conditioning in sweltering heat.

The death toll from Irma stood at 81 yesterday, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands accounting for more than half of the fatalities.

Florida officials including Governor Rick Scott and US Senator Marco Rubio greeted Mr Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Fort Myers, Florida. The president was due to meet with officials running the disaster response before heading to Naples, near where Irma first reached the mainland United States on Sunday.

President Trump flies aboard the Marine One helicopter over storm damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Irma near Fort Myers, Florida. Photo: Reuters
President Trump flies aboard the Marine One helicopter over storm damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Irma near Fort Myers, Florida. Photo: Reuters

"Let's go see how we're doing because I think we're doing a good job in Florida," Mr Trump told reporters in Fort Myers after fielding questions about a potential deal with Democratic lawmakers on protections for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The visit marked Mr Trump's third visit to a storm-hit part of the United States in the past three weeks, following two visits to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey's record flooding. It was seen as a clear bid to avoid the criticism that Republican president George W Bush received for his administration's slow and inefficient response to 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

That storm killed 1,800 people around New Orleans.

Irma rampaged through the Caribbean, and barrelled into the Florida Keys island chain on Sunday.

President Trump receives a briefing on Hurricane Irma relief efforts from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long (left) as the president arrives to tour storm damage with first lady Melania Trump (second right) and Vice President Mike Pence (right) in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo: Reuters
President Trump receives a briefing on Hurricane Irma relief efforts from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long (left) as the president arrives to tour storm damage with first lady Melania Trump (second right) and Vice President Mike Pence (right) in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo: Reuters

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in World News