Trump, Pence to visit flooded Louisiana to survey damage after deadly floods

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Donald Trump And Mike Pence Visit Flood-Ravaged Louisiana



Aug 19 (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate planned to visit Baton Rouge on Friday to survey the damage after recent deadly floods in Louisiana, sources with knowledge of the trip said, despite calls from the state's governor advising against any touring of the area.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards' office said Trump had not called to discuss plans to visit, but that the New York businessman was welcome to volunteer or make a sizable donation towards helping victims.

SEE ALSO: Louisiana flooding is worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy, Red Cross says
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"We welcome him to (Louisiana), but not for a photo op," the statement said. "Instead we hope he'll consider volunteering or making a sizable donation to the LA Flood Relief Fund to help the victims of this storm."

Some 40,000 homes were damaged and least 13 people died after a deluge of more than 2-1/2 feet (0.76 meters) in what has been described as the worst U.S. storm since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

See photos of the destruction:
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24 PHOTOS
Devastating scenes from Louisiana of flooding
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Devastating scenes from Louisiana of flooding
Army National Guard vehicles travel through floodwaters, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, on LA-442, west of Tickfaw, La., as rescue operations continue after heavy rains inundated the region. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo a boat motors between flooded homes after heavy rains inundating the region Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Hammond, La. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says more than 1,000 people in south Louisiana have been rescued from homes, vehicles and even clinging to trees as a slow-moving storm hammers the state with flooding. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Danielle Blount kisses her 3-month-old baby Ember as she feeds her while they wait to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundating the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Motorists on Highway 190 drive through deep water through Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
An abandoned vehicle is surrounded by water on Highway 190 near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Amite, La., flooded homes are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Amite, La., flooded homes are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
People arrive an area, to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Amite, La., flooded homes are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., flooded homes are seen off of LA-1064 after heavy rains inundated the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., cattle can bee seen huddled together in flood water after heavy rains inundated the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Jeff Robinson lowers a ladder from a Louisiana National Guard truck as his wife wades through flood waters from the Natalbany River near their home in Baptist, La., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Robinson was seeking a boat ride from state wildlife agents to pick up his wife and children when the National Guard truck arrived. A slow-moving storm that has dumped almost a foot of rain in Louisiana parishes south and west and Mississippi counties north of the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, are in for more rain. National Guard soldiers and other officials in boats and helicopters plucked more than 1,000 people from their homes and cars as "unprecedented, historic" flooding swamped Louisiana, the governor said Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., A in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A truck drives through a flooded street in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, U.S., August 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky
Residents survey flooding on Lee Street after heavy rains in Sorrento, Louisiana, U.S. August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
A flooded house is seen in Prairieville, Louisiana, U.S., August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A casket is seen in front of a partially submerged church in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A submerged vehicle is seen in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A submerged house is seen in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Richard Rossi and his 4 year old great grandson Justice wade through water in search of higher ground after their home took in water in St. Amant, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Residents are rescued in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Brittany Addox carries her dog, Maggie, after being rescued in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
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Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic rival in the Nov. 8 presidential election, said in a Twitter post earlier this week she was closely monitoring the situation and directed people to the Red Cross.

Representatives for Trump's campaign, which canceled a roundtable discussion on immigration in New York to make the trip, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence were planning to meet with families in the flood-hit areas, according to Fox News. Television footage showed Pence and his wife speaking with officials after landing on the tarmac in Baton Rouge.

Trump Lands in Louisiana

Some people in the southern state have urged U.S. President Barack Obama to cut short a vacation in Martha's Vineyard in order to visit Louisiana and view the devastation. Obama's vacation is due to end on Sunday.

Edwards, a Democrat, said he urged the president to wait a few weeks before visiting as the huge security undertaking involved would interfere with recovery efforts.

"It is a major ordeal," he told MSNBC late Thursday, the same day U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson met with Edwards to see the emergency response.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate defended Obama's decision not to visit.

"We still have response operations going on," Fugate told CNN in an interview. "To move the president into a disaster area actually takes away some time from the response and the focus on" saving people.

Fugate has said he talked with Obama this week about the response. The president has also declared it a federal disaster, freeing up emergency resources.

In 2005, then-President George W. Bush, a Republican, drew criticism for flying over extensively damaged New Orleans, Louisiana, and then giving a speech in the still-flooded city following Hurricane Katrina.

​​​​​​Although waters have receded in many deluged areas, some areas around Lafayette, in the southwestern part of the state, are now experiencing major flooding as the water moves, according to the National Weather Service.

Edwards has said some 86,500 people have already filed for federal aid following the historic levels of rainfall, and FEMA staff have been on the ground processing claims.

Thousands of people must now contend with flood-hit homes, and many have lost almost everything they owned. About 4,000 people were in shelters, according to state officials.

The Red Cross has said recovery efforts will cost at least $30 million.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson in Charlotte, North Carolina, Susan Heavey in Washington and Fiona Oritz in Chicago; Additional reporting by David Alexander in Washington; Editing by Bernadette Baum)


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