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Obama warns of Hurricane Isaac's damage around Katrina anniversary

(Xinhua)

08:36, August 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned residents alongside the Gulf Coast of significant flooding and other potential damage as Tropical Storm Isaac was gaining strength to a hurricane and would impact the region devastated nearly seven years ago by Hurricane Katrina.

"As we prepare for Isaac to hit, I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate," said Obama in brief remarks at the White House.

"Now it is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings," said Obama, before he departed for a two-day campaign trip.

Obama said the federal government have already sent response teams and supplies to help communities in the expected path of Isaac, and "is doing everything possible" to help prepare for and recover from the dangerous storm. Obama on Monday afternoon signed an emergency declaration for Louisiana, the only state that has requested one. The declaration makes federal funding to the state available immediately.

However, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Monday sent a letter to Obama, saying the federal government was not doing enough to help the state cover all the expenses against Isaac.

He noted the state's expenditures for emergency protective measures had reached 8 million dollars and exceeded the state's threshold before making a request for a major disaster declaration.

Obama's Tuesday briefing is also seen as a balance between a role of federal government in disaster preparation and his own tight campaign schedule. The Bush administration has been widely criticized, including Obama, for its handling of Hurricane Katrina.

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