President Obama will be visiting flood-ravaged Louisiana amid criticism. Critics have argued that Obama has been too slow to visit the state, CNN reports. Obama was vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard all this week, while Donald Trump and Mike Pence were visiting the affected area.
The White House is hoping that Obama’s presence will demonstrate the federal government’s commitment to aid the flood-devastated region.
According to NBC News, the flooding is the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and has left 13 dead and displaced thousands of residents. In addition, CNN reports that 106,000 residents have registered for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We are heartbroken by the loss of life,” Obama said upon arrival in Louisiana. “I think anybody who can see just the streets, much less the inside of the homes here, people’s lives have been upended by this flood.”
State and local officials have praised the federal government’s response in Louisiana. Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana Billy Nungesser, who has often criticized Obama, stated that federal officials have done an “excellent job” in responding to the floods, The New York Times reports.
While in Louisiana, Obama will receive a briefing from federal, state and local officials, as well as emergency responders.
In a reference to former President Bush’s response during Hurricane Katrina, White House officials have stated that Obama will be “on the ground” touring the area, the Times reports.
Obama plans to visit East Baton Rouge, a community that has been severely impacted by the floods, where he will meet with residents that have lost their homes to the flood waters.