President Donald Trump on Saturday toured areas damaged by Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles, Louisiana, receiving briefings on emergency operations and relief efforts.
“One thing I know about this state, it rebuilds fast,” Trump told a gathering that included Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, congressmen and federal agency officials. Trump did not meet with residents.
The massive storm hit Louisiana early on Thursday with 150 mile-per-hour (240 kph) winds, damaging buildings, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than 650,000 people in Louisiana and Texas. However, Laura’s storm surge was much less than predicted.
The Category 4 hurricane killed at least 15 people, including some killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators. Governor Edwards called Laura the most powerful hurricane to strike Louisiana, surpassing even Katrina, which was a Category 3 storm when it hit in 2005.
Trump told officials, referring to those who were lost, “It’s a tremendous number, but you were thinking it could be, could have been, a lot worse.”
Trump signed a disaster declaration for Louisiana on Friday.
He also met with National Guard personnel in Louisiana helping with relief efforts and later flew to Orange, Texas, to meet with officials.