U.S. President Donald Trump hands out food while visiting a distribution center outside the Temple Baptist Church while on a tour of Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., Sept. 19, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump hands out food while visiting a distribution center outside the Temple Baptist Church while on a tour of Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., Sept. 19, 2018.

President Donald Trump arrived Wednesday in North Carolina to see the destruction left by Hurricane Florence and the challenging relief efforts that are underway.

“We will never forget your loss, we will never leave your side. We are with you all the way. And to all those impacted by this entire storm our entire American family is with you and ready to help and you will recover,” Trump said shortly after arriving at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina.

 

WATCH: NC Residents Wait for Water to Recede as Trump Pays Visit

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Handing out meals

Trump went to the storm-ravaged town of New Bern, where he handed out meals and mingled with residents.

“How’s the house?” Trump asked one person and added, “Take care of yourself.” Trump told another person who waited in line for a meal to “have a good time.”

Trump also asked about an area northeast of the city of Charlotte, where he owns a golf course. 

“How’s Lake Norman doing,” Trump inquired. “I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.”

Death toll rises

The death toll rose to 37 after two women drowned when a sheriff’s van taking them to a mental health facility was swept off the road. The deputies managed to escape.

Florence has left entire towns in North Carolina flooded with muddy, fetid water.

Officials across the state are cautioning residents that more floods are expected this week.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said 16 rivers were at major flood stage Tuesday with three more expected to peak by Thursday.

“Our people took a gut punch,” Cooper said after the president’s arrival. “We’ve never seen one like this ... a storm like no other.”

Cooper told the president, “We’re going to need your help,” in the recovery efforts, to which Trump responded, “We will be there 100 percent.”

He sympathized with those who were forced to flee and are now relying on government-distributed bottled water and ready-to-eat field rations. Trump said 1.6 million meals have been provided in North Carolina and another 400,000 are ready for victims in South Carolina.