US Election 2016

Donald Trump visits flood-ravaged Louisiana

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, unload donations for Louisiana flood victims. Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Trump criticises President Barack Obama for not visiting the flood-ravaged areas of Louisiana

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has toured flood-ravaged areas of the US state of Louisiana, days after heavy rains forced thousands to flee their homes.

The disaster has been compared in scope to Super Storm Sandy, which hit the New York area in 2012.

But critics say the floods near Baton Rouge, which have killed at least 13, have received far less attention.

Mr Trump called out President Barack Obama for not visiting the state.

Responding to critics who said Mr Obama should also tour the region, the White House announced on Friday that the president would visit the Baton Rouge area on Tuesday.

While visiting the hard-hit area of East Baton Rouge Parish, Mr Trump said he was "just here to help".

A woman told the New York businessman she was happy he was not somewhere playing golf, to which Mr Trump responded, "Somebody is, somebody that shouldn't be," referring to Mr Obama.

Mr Obama, who is on vacation on Martha's Vineyard, has received regular updates on the devastating flooding, according to the White House.

The visit, which included Vice-Presidential nominee Mike Pence, was a departure for Mr Trump, who has favoured large rallies over one-on-one campaigning with voters.

Mr Trump's new campaign chief Kellyanne Conway told ABC News that Mr Trump and Mr Pence were "going to help people on the ground who are in need".

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Media captionBefore and After: Louisiana flooding

The state's Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, cautioned Mr Trump that visit should not just be a "photo-op". Governor Edwards urged Mr Trump to volunteer his time or contribute money to the relief effort.

The region's main newspaper, The Advocate of Baton Rouge, wrote an editorial this week urging President Obama to cut short his holiday to visit the area, which was also affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Clean-up efforts have begun in Louisiana
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate

"We've seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don't deserve a sequel. In 2005, a fly-over by a vacationing President George W. Bush became a symbol of official neglect for the victims of Hurricane Katrina," the newspaper wrote.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who toured the area on Thursday, said the federal government is playing an active role in relief efforts.

Governor Edwards also said the security precautions needed for a presidential visit could complicate the recovery operation. He said the state would welcome a visit by Mr Obama in a week or so.