U.S. President Donald Trump travels to Houston and Lake Charles, Louisiana on Saturday to meet victims of catastrophic storm Harvey, one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history that is presenting a test of his administration.
While Trump visits, attention will also be focused on Minute Maid Park, where baseball’s Houston Astros play their first home games since Harvey devastated the fourth-most populous U.S. city. The Saturday doubleheader with the New York Mets is expected to be wrought with emotion and punctuated with moments to honor the dozens who died as a result of Harvey.
The storm, one of the costliest to hit the United States, has displaced more than 1 million people, with 50 feared dead from flooding that paralyzed Houston, swelled river levels to record highs and knocked out the drinking water supply in Beaumont, Texas, a city of 120,000 people.
Hurricane Harvey came ashore last Friday as the strongest storm to hit Texas in more than 50 years. Much of the damage took place in the Houston metropolitan area, which has an economy about the same size as Argentina‘s.
Seventy percent of Harris County, which encompasses Houston, at one point was covered with 18 inches (45 cm) or more of water, county officials said.
Trump first visited the Gulf region on Tuesday, but stayed clear of the disaster zone, saying he did not want to hamper rescue efforts. Instead, he met with state and local leaders, and first responders.
The White House said Trump will first travel to Houston to meet with flood survivors and volunteers who assisted in relief efforts and then move on to Lake Charles, another area hammered by the storm.
The Trump administration in a letter to Congress asked for a $7.85 billion appropriation for response and initial recovery efforts. White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert has said aid funding requests would come in stages as more became known about the impact of the storm.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said that his state may need more than $125 billion.