After much scathing criticism for not focusing on the suffering of residents, the US President Donald Trump will travel today to Houston and the Louisiana city of Lake Charles.

Visiting first responders

Hurricane Harvey may be one of the most devastating natural disasters ever recorded in US history, but for some Americans, the Hurricane has shown less bias than their own President Trump. On Tuesday, he visited the region, and while those affected thought he would get his feet wet by actually dealing with their problems, he chose instead to rub shoulders with local leaders and first responders.

It’s not the first time a sitting President has been bashed for neglecting survivors of a natural disaster. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck, the then President George W. Bush was enjoying himself on vacation. Hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were displaced from their homes, and more than 1,700 people died. Damage was estimated at $100 billion.

Similarities with former President George Bush

After Americans had been dealing with the catastrophe for several days, President Bush only then decided to cut short his stay at his Texas ranch. A picture was released to the media showing him looking out of the window in Air Force One, with a glum expression on his face.

What was supposed to be his seeming solidarity with survivors, turned into a PR debacle as most of the society viewed the picture as President Bush keeping a safe distance away from the toil the rest of them were facing. Bush himself admitted five years later to NBC that the photo was a big mistake and made him seem uncaring.

Fast forward to President Trump’s actions and to a man who never seems to admit to making mistakes. Just like former President Bush, Trump explained his refusal to venture into the disaster zone on Tuesday, saying that he didn’t want to hamper rescue efforts. It seems like more of an excuse though because any right thinking person would be proud to have a President who shows up and works for the people?

Texas governor Greg Abbott, claims that his state may need more than $125 billion; however, the Trump administration has asked Congress for only $7.85 billion, a far cry for what is needed. Funding is expected not to be given in a lump sum, but rather, in stages and be delivered in appropriate amounts as more information about the damage comes to hand.

For more than five decades, Texas hadn't seen anything quite like Hurricane Harvey. More than one million people have been displaced, and damage is likely to take several years to rectify, if at all. Up to now, some areas hit by Hurricane Katrina have never recovered, remaining grim, haunting reminders of the fragility of human life and infrastructure.

More than 1,700 people died then and billions of dollars spent in clean up and rescue efforts.

Now, a new storm looms on the horizon, not certain to hit the US, but anything is possible. Irma has strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane and is expected to make landfall by next week. Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti are preparing to be hit even though it is still hundreds of miles from land.

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