Louisiana flooding is worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy, Red Cross says
The ongoing flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy four years ago, the Red Cross says.
"Thousands of people in Louisiana have lost everything they own and need our help now," said Brad Kieserman, the organization's vice president of disaster services operations and logistics.
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"This disaster is the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy, and we anticipate it will cost at least $30 million – a number which may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation," Kieserman said.
Despite the magnitude of the crisis, there is concern the situation is drawing little attention outside Louisiana.
See photos of the flooding
Red Cross spokesman Craig Cooper described the disaster as "epic," according to USA Today, but said it's lacking an appropriate share of the spotlight due to the Olympics, the 2016 election season and the raging California wildfires.
"This isn't making the front pages," Cooper said. "It's not making the landing page on websites. From the Red Cross' perspective, the Louisiana floods are page one."
Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012, at the height of that year's presidential election pitting President Barack Obama against GOP candidate Mitt Romney.
Obama's handling of the disaster has been cited by some, including Romney, as benefiting him on his way to securing re-election. Obama visited Sandy-impacted New Jersey and was warmly received by GOP Gov. Chris Christie, which some Republicans criticized as aiding Obama.
Christie is now aiding Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who touched down in Baton Rouge for a visit on Friday. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, on Wednesday tweeted a link where donors can give to the Red Cross and said she is "monitoring the flooding" closely.
Obama has been hit by some for not visiting Louisiana yet, instead staying on vacation in Martha's Vineyard.
However, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said he is OK with Obama's decision not to visit.
"I am not complaining about our federal partnership in any way" Edwards said Thursday, according to The Times-Picayune. "The president is welcome to visit whenever he wants to visit."
Edwards said a visit by the president could complicate flood recovery efforts. Obama's motorcade requires roadways to be shut down, for example, while plenty of roads in Louisiana are already closed.
Obama issued a disaster declaration for several Louisiana parishes on Monday, and Federal Emergency Management Agency head Craig Fugate decried the situation Tuesday.