Obama quick to defend slow response
AFTER a much-criticised delay, President Barack Obama visited floodstricken Louisiana and was quick to defend his administration’s response, urging citizens to pitch in and help ravaged communities.
Mr Obama touched down in Baton Rouge and toured a hard-hit and debris-strewn parish, promising Louisianans they would get all the help they need.
At least 13 people have died and more than 100,000 people have registered for government emergency assistance as a result of the flooding.
The National Guard has been deployed and the federal government has approved more than US$120 million in assistance for temporary rent, home repairs and flood insurance payments.
“I am asking every American to do what you can to help get families and local businesses back on their feet,” Mr Obama said, directing people to the website volunteerlouisiana.gov and aid groups like the Red Cross.
“These are some good people down here,” he said. “They shouldn’t have to do it alone.”
Mr Obama has been lampooned for not cutting short a two-week holiday on Martha’s Vineyard to visit the Gulf Coast state.
Heavy rains began on August 11 and in just a few days, 79 centimetres of rain fell on some parts of the low-laying state.
A few months out from November’s election, Mr Obama’s visits have inevitably become another talking point on the campaign trail.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump visited Louisiana last week and goaded the golf-loving president about his absence. –
President Barack Obama meets residents of a flood-affected area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on August 23.