Hurricane Harvey may be a history topic now but its memories linger – evident from the devastation it left behind. One of the hardest hit locations was Houston, Texas. The city is now left to deal with an explosion of mosquitoes as a result of the standing waters that Harvey left behind.
Chris Milliner, a California geophysicist, said the weight of the rain sank Houston by two centimetres. To help fight the mosquito scourge, Houston officials have beckoned to its residents to help to clear as much standing water as possible.
The mosquitoes are great vectors for the spread of West Nile Virus and other diseases. This places Houston on the brink of a major bug-borne public health crisis -the last thing that the city needs. It is almost impossible to clear all of the mosquito breeding grounds despite the warnings, which mean that the population of bugs is expected to rise sharply.
President Donald Trump and his wife Melania paid a visit to the flood victims to distribute supplies. The trip came hot on the heels of a public backlash that the Republican leader was not doing enough to assist the victims of the destruction left behind by one of the worst storms to have ever hit the United States.
Trump and his wife mingled with residents and were spotted distributing lunch to the victims taking refuge at the NRG Center. There has been a growing argument by lawmakers over government spending but that did not stop Trump from requesting the release of $7.85 billion in emergency relief spending. If the request is granted, it would add $7.4 billion to the coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency while the remaining $450 million will be made available to finance disaster loans for small businesses.
To dispel any form of doubt, he assured reporters outside the NRG center that he would come through with the deal. Speaking to Reuters, Trump said, “We are signing a lot of documents to get money”.
If there is one take home message from the president’s visit, it is the fact that he appeared at ease and eager to lend a helping hand. Before coming into power, Trump had a lot of negative media coverage, but sharing lunch with Houston’s residents and hugging their kids showed him in a new light. “It has been a wonderful thing”, Trump said, describing the experience he had with his wife meeting and assisting the Hurricane victims.
Trump praised the emergency relief team saying, “You got a lot of hard working people, I’ll tell you that”. Shortly after his arrival in Houston, Trump tweeted, “We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, and REBUILD!”
Every step Trump will take as president is crucial considering his controversial personality. Many Americans will be watching to see how he reacts to internal and external crisis. The Houston trip was his second to Texas since the fierce hurricane tore through the south-eastern Gulf Coast.
Trump also pledged $1 million of his personal fund to aid the disaster victims, according to the White House. It has been estimated that the cost of rebuilding the widespread destruction could exceed $190 billion. Gregg Abbot, Texas Governor said his state alone would need up to $125 billion to fix. This places the demand higher than the approximate $100 billion it took to fix the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
While it seemed as if Trump was desperately trying to quell old controversies, he still displayed his tendency to relive some of them. Just as Trump was about to hand over the food to the victims in Houston, he said, “My hands are too big”, referring to the sanitary gloves that his assistants wore.
This comment was likely a reference to the jab by the Florida Senator Marc Rubio during the last Republican presidential run-offs when he said Trump had “small hands”. There were many shades to the jab; it could mean that Trump is not generous enough or that, as Trump put it, “something else must be small“.
Trump’s son, Eric, seems to be trailing the path of his dad. Earlier, he accused CNN and other media of not putting his dad’s personal donation in the spotlight. CNN responded with a tweet saying the report was aired. Clearly, Trump needs to be wary of not just his actions but also that of his family because it can affect any future political ambition he has.