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Hurricane Irma: Trump heads to Florida to see damage

16 September 2017

"We are there for you 100 percent", Trump said before donning gloves and helping to hand out sandwiches to local residents from a lunch line under a canopy. "This has been a hard situation".

Mr Trump has promised to return to Florida "numerous times" as thousands of people begin the painstaking task of rebuilding their homes - adding that Irma's destruction was on a scale "nobody has seen before". Careful consideration was given to how Trump can visit the disaster zone and meet with first responders without getting in the way of recovery efforts.

Millions of people are without power and, in many cases, water after Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys and traveled up the western side of the state last weekend. After record flooding from Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas earlier this month, Trump made two visits, first to Corpus Christi and Austin on August 29 and later to Houston on September 2.

The president, wearing a white baseball cap with "USA" written on it, later visited Naples, near where Irma first reached the U.S. mainland on Sunday, handed out sandwiches to resident at a feeding station under a blue shade pavilion. On the tarmac of the Fort Myers airport, he encouraged the state's governor, Republican Rick Scott, to challenge Florida's Democratic senator when his term expires. Trump said, turning to the cameras.

Trump earlier met with federal and state leaders in Fort Myers, where he was brimming with enthusiasm for the state and federal response effort, calling it "a team like very few people have seen". "I don't know what he's going to do".

Trump's trip to Florida was his third in less than three weeks to the storm-ravaged South. He visited Texas and Louisiana after Harvey struck.

Some 20% of Florida's gas stations had no fuel yesterday, down from a peak of 46%, according to fuel information service Gas Buddy.