Trump visits Texas disaster zone before Harvey return

HOUSTON: President Donald Trump headed to storm-ravaged Texas Tuesday in a show of solidarity and leadership in the face of the deadly devastation wrought by Harvey — as the battered US Gulf Coast braces for even more torrential rain.

Four days after Harvey slammed onshore as a monster Category Four hurricane, turning roads to rivers in America´s fourth-largest city, emergency crews are still racing to reach hundreds of stranded people in a massive round-the-clock rescue operation.

Eager to strike a unifying tone as the country faces the first natural disaster of his presidency, Trump left the White House with his wife Melania for the disaster zone at 8:30 am (1230 GMT).

Trump has pledged the federal government´s full support as Texas makes the “long and difficult road to recovery,” insisting on the eve of his departure: “We are one American family.”

The president and first lady were not expected to visit Houston — swathes of which remain under water — making stops further west including in hard-hit Corpus Christi, which was square in the path when the hurricane made landfall.

Trump will receive briefings on relief efforts across the vast Lone Star State, where more than 8,000 people have been driven into emergency shelters and hundreds more still await rescue.

“We´re Trumponites. I trust he´s going to take care of us,” said Darla Fitzgerald, a 58-year-old nurse sheltering in a Red Cross shelter in Winnie, a town east of Houston, where the rain was lashing down very heavily on Tuesday. “He said he would so I´m sure he´s going to.”

Ray Henrichson, a white-haired 74-year-old shelter volunteer, was equally upbeat on the president´s visit. “I think it´s really nice that he has signed the declarations already so these people can get some help right away,” she said.

“I think it´s nice that he´s coming. He´ll probably fly around in a helicopter and see some flooded lands which we saw on the way driving here,” she said. “It is pretty dramatic.”

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