Donald Trump left Washington on Saturday to visit Houston, Lake Charles and Louisiana, areas where hundreds of thousands of people are gradually returning home following the devastaton caused by hurricane Harvey.
US President and First Lady Melania Trump took off aboard Air Force One early in the morning from the Andrews military base in the outskirts of Washington.
“America is with you!” Tweeted the President to the two southern states hit by Harvey, which left at least 42 dead and caused estimated damage of between $ 30 billion and $ 100 billion. dollars.
The storm, initially a hurricane force 4 on its arrival a week ago, has now largely dissipated, leaving room for a “tropical depression” according to the National Hurricane Center.
The president presented a request Friday night to Congress to release $7.85 billion in emergency to help victims.
In his letter to the House of Representatives, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the administration plans to ask for $6.7 billion in additional aid and calls on Congress to raise the debt ceiling.
More than 100,000 houses are damaged, while 43,500 people are in shelters and 436,000 households have applied for help, according to the letter.
“Never seen anything like it”
Mr. Trump said Sunday would be “a national day of prayer” for the victims of the storm.
On the ground, the residents who have been able to return home found their house with several filled with muddy water, still as high as the windows in some locations.
“I’ve never seen anything like this during the 37 years of my life,” said Tobias James, inspecting Damage on Friday at his home in Port Arthur. This employee of a refinery consoles himself to know all his living relatives: two days before, he had been evacuated by helicopter with his wife and children.
But tens of thousands of people are staying in emergency reception centers. The slow decline prevents any return home.
A new fire broke out Friday at the chemical plant in Arkema, where flames and thick, potentially dangerous black smoke rose. An anticipated reaction, according to a factory employee joined by AFP assuring that “the area has been evacuated and nobody is there.”
In total, nine containers containing some 225 tonnes of organic peroxide are on site. Arkema President Richard Rowe told a news conference Friday that new fires are inevitable and that these containers “should catch fire in the coming days.”
The Return of Baseball
At Rockport, southwest of the Houston metropolis, electricity was cut off, bent houses were promised to be destroyed. Others were no more than a heap of debris.
At the other end of the spectrum, in Houston, the fourth largest city in the US with 2.3 million inhabitants, there were signs of a return to normal life: recovery of the current, resumption of transit systems, extensive clean-up operations.
The local baseball team, the Houston Astros, announced that it would be well operational in the city for its scheduled matches on Saturday and Sunday against the New York Mets.
The schools in the region, where the re-entry was scheduled last Monday, were considering reopening next Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The return to normal will take years, warned Friday Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas.
“People have to understand that this is not a short-term project. This is going to be a program over years for Texas to emerge from this disaster, “warned the elected official.