Trump praises "terrific" rescue effort while visiting Texas & Louisiana

The US President travelled to the two states to meet volunteers and victims of Tropical Storm Harvey

Trump praises "terrific" rescue effort while visiting Texas & Louisiana

President Donald Trump passes out food and meets people impacted by Hurricane Harvey during a visit to the NRG Center in Houston. Picture by: Susan Walsh/AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump has returned to Texas to meet volunteers and victims of Storm Harvey, which brought record rainfall and catastrophic flooding to one of America's largest cities.

The President touched down in Air Force One with First Lady Melania Trump to see the devastation wrought by the tropical storm.

He visited Houston, the state's biggest city, before making his way to Lake Charles in neighbouring Louisiana.

Both have seen mass evacuations because of the historic flooding.

While the water is receding in some areas, people are dealing with rising floodwaters elsewhere due to a controlled release of water from reservoirs.

Mr Trump's first stop was a shelter, where he visited a section reserved for child survivors and listened to their stories.

He spoke of seeing "a lot of love" and "a lot of happiness" after high-fiving one boy and picking up a girl to give her a kiss.

The Trumps later handed out hot dogs in white boxes bearing the Red Cross logo, pausing frequently to greet and take selfies with enthusiastic aid recipients.

They then moved on to a church in Pearland, where Mr Trump praised officials' "terrific" rescue effort.

He told volunteers handing out food and hygiene products: "I don't know if it gets better, but we're going to try to make it better."

Mr Trump was criticised after his first visit for not meeting those directly affected by the storm, which has so far killed 50 people and left one million displaced.

But the White House said he did not want to get in the way of the relief effort.

The President has asked Congress for an initial $7.85bn (€6.6bn) in disaster relief in the wake of the storm.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the request is a "downpayment on the President's commitment to help affected states recover from the storm".

Further funding requests are expected to address longer-term rebuilding needs as the full impact of the storm becomes clear.

Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century - dumping unprecedented amounts of rain across more than 300 miles (480km) of the state's coast.