Trump tours Carolinas as death toll from Florence rises

Trump pledges support for storm-battered N Carolina

WHAT'S HAPPENING: What will life be like after Hurricane Florence?

During Wednesday's briefing, Trump thanked federal and local officials for their efforts to prepare for and address Hurricane Florence, and expressed his sympathies to those who lost loved ones.

Florence has led to at least 37 deaths, 27 of which occurred in North Carolina.

Officials have identified the two mental health patients who drowned when a van they were riding in was swept away in SC flood waters.

The deaths, which have occurred in three states, include two women who were being taken to a mental health facility when the van they were riding in was engulfed by floodwaters from the Little Pee Dee River in SC, authorities said.

"Our rivers are still cresting and there is still danger for some people", he added.

Meantime, swine losses in North Carolina are estimated at 5,500, state veterinarian Dr. Doug Meckes said. Close to 200,000 residents are still without power, and about 7,800 are living in shelters.

The Cape Fear River crested at 61.5 feet (18.75 meters) early Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

When Air Force One landed Wednesday morning in eastern North Carolina, the only visible sign of the damage wrought by Hurricane Florence nearly a week ago was a pile of twisted steel, the remains of a temporary hangar.

In South Carolina, two women died on Tuesday evening (Wednesday NZT) after a van taking the mental health patients from one facility to another was overtaken by rising floodwaters near the Little Pee Dee River, authorities said.

Last year, North Carolina farmers also raised 830.8 million chickens for meat, 9 percent of the USA flock, and 32.5 million turkeys, or 13 percent of the US total, according to the USDA.

Trump told the crowd of officials that the federal government's resources are at the disposal of North Carolina.

"Our state took a gut punch, Mr. President, and our people are still reeling", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

Trump, who has been criticized for his handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year, also thanked first responders for their work since Florence made landfall on Friday.

News correspondent Gadi Schwartz shared a video on Twitter of fire ants floating together on the floodwaters in North Carolina after several inches of rain flooded the area.

He then toured a devastated neighborhood in the city of New Bern and also helped distribute food to local residents. He also walked through a neighborhood lined with discarded wet furniture, hugging residents and posing for pictures. More water vapor means more rain, especially when the storm is a crawler like Florence, which slowed to about 2 miles per hour (1.6 km per hour) after slamming into the North Carolina coast.

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