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Trump contrasts Puerto Rico with Katrina

President Donald Trump gestures after arriving at the Luis Muñiz Air National Guard Base in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Trump is visiting Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Puerto Rico suffered a relatively low death toll from Hurricane Maria compared with "a real catastrophe like Katrina," which killed more than a thousand people in 2005.

Trump spoke as he toured the island Tuesday. He pledged an all-out effort to help Puerto Rico.

The president said that while "every death is a horror," he drew a distinction between "a real catastrophe like Katrina" and "what happened here" in Puerto Rico, where at least 16 people died.

President Donald Trump says Puerto Rico's electrical power, virtually knocked out by Hurricane Maria, is headed toward flickering on again.

"It's being fixed" he told reporters Tuesday during his first visit to the island. He added that the power grid was "devastated before the hurricanes even hit."

He said lots of generators have been brought to the island and most hospitals are at least partially open.

Trump said "The job that's been done here is really nothing short of a miracle."

He has come under fire for what critics said was a slow response to the devastation. Maria wiped out power to Puerto Rico's 3.4 million people and left them short of food, water and supplies.

President Donald Trump has handed out supplies at a church in Puerto Rico.

About 200 local residents are at Calvary Chapel, cheering Trump as he walks in. Tables nearby were lined with supplies that included paper towels, bags of rice. Candybars, water bottles.

The president shook hands and handed people flashlights. A few times, he tossed paper towel rolls into the crowd.

Surrounded by a sea of cellphone cameras, Trump said, "There's a lot of love in this room." He called those in attendance, "Great people."


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