Hawaii volcano explosions shoot ash to 11,000ft as lava swamps road

Eruption of Kilauea into fourth week with 82 structures burned and thousands of residents under evacuation orders

A series of summit explosions on Saturday spewed ash from Kilauea volcano up to 11,000 ft and dusted communities to the south-west, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

The three explosions, which began around 12.42 am, went during the course of its fourth week of what geologists rank as one of the biggest eruption cycles from the Big Island volcano in a century.

Residents downwind of Kilauea were advised by County of Hawaii Civil Defense to avoid exposure to ash, which can cause eye irritation and breathing difficulties, particularly in people with respiratory problems.

Some 25 miles down Kilauea’s east flank, lava gushed from six giant cracks. Molten rock from two rifts advanced over a street of homes in the Leilani Estates housing development, the observatory said.

The number of houses and other structures destroyed by lava flows in the island’s lower Puna district leapt to 82 on Friday, from a previous count of 50 after fissures reactivated in Leilani Estates this week.

Another lava flowing near the rural housing development slackened and was 150 yards from Pohoiki Road where there are dozens more homes, the observatory said.

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Lava from Kilauea volcano oozes down Hawaii street- timelapse video

Around 2,000 residents of Leilani Estates and nearby Lanipuna Garden remained under evacuation orders due to lava flows and high levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas from volcanic vents.

Contingency schemes have been constructed for a possible helicopter evacuation of up to 1,000 residents in a coastal regions south of the fissures should their last exit route be blocked by lava or become unsafe due to gaping cracks, officials said.

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Orange snow transforms eastern Europe into ‘Mars’

Dust and sand from cyclones in northern Africa carpet ski resorts in Russia and Romania

Dust from a sandstorm in the Sahara desert is make snow in eastern Europe to turn orange, transforming mountainous regions of Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania into Mars-like landscapes.

The unusual scenes are believed to be created by a mix of sand, dust and pollen particles stirred up and swept across from blizzards in northern Africa. According the meteorologists, the phenomenon occurs roughly every five years.


Valentyna Vashchenko (@ ValentynaVashc2)

Ne udivliaites ‘, eto ne peski, eto sneg v Sochi. pic.twitter.com/ vTUuRPCeQY

March 23, 2018

Steven Keates, a weather forecaster at the UK’s Met Office, told the Independent:

” As the sand gets lifted to the upper levels of the atmosphere, it gets distributed elsewhere.

” Looking at satellite imagery from Nasa, it indicates a lot of sand and dust in the atmosphere drifting across the Mediterranean .”

Skiers and snowboarders posted photographs on Instagram and Twitter that proved eerie orange scenes.

Papua New Guinea: at least 16 dead after strongest ever earthquake hits

Authorities are still trying to assess the extent of the damage to remote highland regions of the country after massive quake

The impoverished Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea has been devastated by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that has claimed at least 16 lives and brought the heartland of the country to its knees.

The earthquake, the strongest ever to make the country, struck the Southern Highlands, Hela Province and the Western Highlands region early on Monday morning, but the extent of the devastation took days to emerge because of the area’s remoteness.

Southern Highlands governor William Powi said on Wednesday that authorities in his region were still trying to assess the extent of the damage, and his people were traumatized, with the disaster causing” catastrophic havoc and demolition .”

Uvenama Rova, secretary general of the PNG Red Cross, said he had confirmed reports of 11 deaths in the southern highlands region and five in Hela province, though his contacts in the affected regions reported “many” more demises, entire villages buried under landslips, and mass grieving by affected communities.

Areas affected by landslides are insured after a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake, in Hela Photograph: Social Media/ Reuters

The Red Cross also said it knew of homes that had “sunk” in the town of Tari in Hela province, where concrete roads had also been destroyed, bridges snapped and the town’s hospital forced to turn away patients.

Rova said according to information from ExxonMobil, which had mining operations in the affected regions, more than 10,000 families were affected by the quake.

ExxonMobil has suspended its $19 bn liquefied natural gas( LNG) plant, the country’s biggest export earner, as dozens of aftershocks continue day and night, including a 5.7 earthquake on Tuesday afternoon, the US Geological Survey reported.

Information has been hard to come by in the affected regions, as many roads have been blocked by major land slides, and essential services such as power and communications cut to remote villages, with further landslips expected as heavy rain fell overnight.

” This is the largest earthquake we’ve ever had and its right in the centre of our country, and we don’t know how many casualties yet, we are still in the assessment stage ,” said Rova.

” But we do know colleges and infrastructure are devastated, and normal activities within Tari and Mendi town have shut down .”

A local blogger said there were the reporting of dozens or even hundreds of people killed in the Southern Highlands regions, though the Guardian and the Red Cross could not confirm those reports.

MARTYN NAMORONG (@ MartynNamorong)

Locals in Mendi searching for survivors and victims of the Great Papuan Earthquake #PNG Photo Credit: Jaycoz Pokura/ Facebook pic.twitter.com/ G8ASaJWNEL

February 27, 2018

MARTYN NAMORONG (@ MartynNamorong)

There are reports of dozens perhaps hundreds of deaths in the remote Kutubu region of the Southern Highlands Province #PNG #GreatPapuanEarthquake Photo credit: Semix Sukupii pic.twitter.com/ q14SfkPdxQ

February 27, 2018

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and a team of ministers visited the affected areas on Tuesday, and situations of emergency meeting of the PNG cabinet was scheduled for Wednesday, with the government expected to declare a national country of emergency.

Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop said her government had already received a request for help from PNG, and would be sending a RAAF C-1 30 to conduct aerial surveillance of the affected regions, and provide logistical support to the defence force.

In a statement O’Neill said information was still coming in regarding the level of devastation and soldiers were on route to the affected regions.

” There are communities that have suffered from this natural disaster, and we are sending our soldiers and other Government agencies to support our people in their day of need .”

” We know that there have been houses lost, roads cut by land slips and disruption to services .”

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Two people confirmed dead in 6.4-magnitude Taiwan earthquake

More than 100 have been injured and guests are believed trapped inside a partially collapsed hotel

California fires: largest blaze threatens Santa Barbara and prompts evacuation

Residents of coastal towns ordered to evacuate early Sunday, as Thomas fire edges closer to Santa Barbara after blackening 155,000 acres

The largest California wildfire advanced on coastal towns near Santa Barbara on Sunday, stoked by gusty breezes and dry conditions that have fueled destructive blazes across the south of the state.

Authorities ordered residents in parts of Carpinteria and Montecito to evacuate early on Sunday as the Thomas fire edged closer to the city of Santa Barbara, about 100 miles west of Los Angeles. The blaze had already blackened 155,000 acres and consumed hundreds of structures.

Half a dozen fires have raged across California since early the coming week. Governor Jerry Brown issued emergency proclamations for Santa Barbara, San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, freeing up additional resources to fight the infernos.

Officials said smoking from the fires was causing unhealthy air for large parts of southern California. The flare-up on Sunday in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties sent up a new plume that added to heavy smoke already choking regions around the cities of Ventura, Oxnard and Santa Paula.

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District said air quality was especially bad in the Ojai Valley, where it has at times reached hazardous levels. To the south-east, regulators cautioned on Saturday of unhealthy air across parts of greater Los Angeles. The South Coast Air Quality Management District urged residents to avoid vigorous outdoor activities.

Brown visited Ventura County on Saturday and said deadly and destructive wildfires in wintertime were” the new normal “.

At a news conference, the governor said drought and climate change meant California faces a” new reality” where lives and property are constantly threatened by fire, at a cost of billions of dollars. He added that there was a good chance of ensure” firefighting at Christmas” this year.

It will take “heroic” efforts in the US and abroad, Brown said, to stem climate change. The governor, who strongly criticised Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal in an interview with CBS due to be broadcast on Sunday evening, exhorted US lawmakers to pay more attention to dealing with natural disasters such as fires, deluges and earthquakes.

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Why are California’s wildfires so out of control?- video explainer

This week, Trump issued a federal proclamation that enabled agencies to coordinate relief efforts in southern California.

At least one home in Carpinteria burned down on Sunday, the Santa Barbara County fire department said. The flame was only 15% contained as of Sunday morning, in agreement with the California department of forestry and fire protection( Cal Fire ).

Top wind velocities were forecast to increase to 55 mph on Sunday from 40 mph on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service( NWS ). Such gusts, coupled with the rugged mountain terrain above Santa Barbara and Ventura districts, have hampered firefighting efforts, authorities said.

The flames have forced the evacuation of some 200,000 people and destroyed nearly 800 structures. A 70 -year-old woman died on Wednesday in a car accident as she tried to flee the flames in Ventura County.

The Thomas fire, the largest blaze, had left nearly 90,000 clients without power as of early Sunday morning, Southern California Edison said on its website.

The 8,5000 firefighters battling the fires that have burned over the past week gained some ground on Saturday. Both the Creek and Rye flames in Los Angeles County were 90% contained by Sunday morning, officers said, while the Skirball fire in Los Angeles was 75% contained. North of San Diego, the 4,100 -acre Lilac fire was 60% contained.

A brush flame broke out on Saturday night in the city of Monrovia in Los Angeles County, inspiring temporary evacuations, the US Forest Service said on Twitter. A group of Boy scout camping in the field were among those evacuated, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Crews knocked down the three-acre blaze and no structures were reported injury, the city of Monrovia said on its website.

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Magnitude 4.1 earthquake hits Delaware and jolts eastern US coast

US Geological Survey says quake struck Thursday afternoon and was centered near the city of Dover, but was widely felt around the Mid-Atlantic region

An earthquake has jolted the Mid-Atlantic region of the east coast, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The US Geological Survey says the 4.1 magnitude earthquake struck just after 4.45 pm Thursday, and was centered about six miles( 10 km) east-north-east of Dover, Delaware. People from as far away as Washington and New York City reported that they felt the movement.

The quake jolted downtown Dover, sending lawmakers and workers in the statehouse outdoors to watch what happened. Police and emergency officials did not have any immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Paul Caruso is a geophysicist with the USGS’s earthquake information center in Colorado. He said the quake was widely felt around the Mid-Atlantic region.
Caruso said he didn’t expect any significant damage, given the small size of the quake.

John Bellini, a geophysicist USGS’s earthquake information center in Colorado, said ,” It would largely be a few items knocked from shelves, crackings in plaster .”

The jolt was strong enough in downtown Baltimore that a handful of residents streamed out of office towers and into the streets. Husam Albarmawi, a 30 -year-old graduate student at the University of Maryland, rushed out of an apartment tower with his wife when they felt two separate jolts, roughly 20 seconds apart, in their 23 rd-storey apartment.

” When we felt it we looked at each other like,’ Are we losing it ?”‘ said Albarmawi as they ventured back upstairs after waiting for a few minutes outside.” It was actually pretty scary and pretty surprising .”

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‘It feels like Dominica is finished’: life amid the ruins left by Hurricane Maria | Janise Elie

With almost every building injury or reduced to rubble , no power and little water, survivors of Septembers storms are relying on shelters and a trickle of aid

When it rains or the wind jolts in the tiny angling village of Scotts Head, the youngest residents run for covering. With Dominica’s once-lush landscape deeply scarred by the unprecedented fury of Hurricane Maria only weeks earlier, the signs of nature’s wrath are everywhere and felt by everyone.

” The children are terrified the hurricane will return- we all are. Everybody is still in shock ,” says Guadiosa Ytac, 49, who left London for the Caribbean more than ten years ago.

On Monday 18 September, in the dead of night, the category 5 storm bore down on the island and lashed it for hours. Torrential rainfall and 160 mph gusts tore off roofs, smashed through walls, uprooted trees and lifted roads. Communication towers snapped in two, schools were flattened and electricity cut. Nothing was spared.

In the few short hours between sundown and sunrise, the 29 -mile by 16 -mile “Nature Island”- which boasted dozens of waterfalls, rainforests, nine active volcanoes and 365 rivers- was reduced to rubble, lurching from tropical paradise with a burgeoning eco-tourism sector to abject poverty and ruin in a single night.

Scotts Head, Dominica- before and after
Scotts Head, Dominica, before and after Hurricane Maria. Image provided by Lawsuit

Ytac’s roof, windows and front door were smashed in by the hurricane, leaving knolls of concrete, grime and shattered glass scattered throughout the two-bedroom home she shares with her teenage son.

She counts herself one of the luck ones. Only a few yards away, her neighbour, a woman in her 80 s, is missing, presumed dead.

Guadiosa Ytac, who has been unemployed since the hurricane.

” That night the waves were higher than the houses, higher even than the coconut trees ,” Ytac says.” By morning, there was nothing left of my neighbour’s home on the seafront- not even a scrap of furniture. She was gone and so was her house. The ocean took it all .”

With 95% of houses damaged or destroyed and the few remaining roads still clogged with tree trunks, the distribution of aid- much of which has come from neighbouring islands- has been treacherous and slow.

Approximately 3,000 Dominicans are living in shelters; the rest are staying with relatives and friends, according to the UN, which launched an appeal for $31.1 m( PS23. 4m) to reach at least 90% of residents– about 65,000 people- in the next three months.

The destruction is most severe in the southern and eastern one-quarters of the country. Photo: Tomas Ayuso/ Irin

Informal estimations suggest one-fifth of the population have fled the island since September, with ferry operators reporting that a growing number of passengers are opting for one-way tickets.

But what of those who remain, marooned without work or permanent shelter? What are their hopes for the future now that the country has, according to the prime minister, been reduced to” worse than a war zone “?

” Things were so hard straight after the hurricane. We had nothing ,” says Ytac.” Every day my son would go to the bay, hoping to get a delivery of food and bottles of water. He would stand there from morning to night, watching as neighbours collected boxes of supplyings delivered by their relatives on fishing boats from Guadeloupe and Martinique. But every day he would leave empty handed and disappointed … We have no one there to help us.

” Some emergency goods have been arriving in Scotts Head over the past couple of weeks- cookies, corned beef, napkins, that various kinds of thing- but we still struggle to get the stuff that everybody wants, like water. We have a drum to collect rainwater, but some days it’s dry and there only isn’t enough .”

A girl carries bottles of water over the wreckage of a landslide that decimated the village of Pointe Michel. Photo: Tomas Ayuso/ Irin

” The recovery feels so slacken, and the days and nights are so long. I received a solar lamp lately, which has been a godsend as it gets dark by 5.30 pm. I’ve been told there will be no energy until next year. There is no post, scarcely any internet and the phone lines don’t work properly, which builds me feel trapped here.

” Roseau was so busy; now there are hardly any shops. We had several supermarkets, but now there are only two. Many stores went bankrupt because people were hungry and came from other the towns and stole all the food. Now the army and police guard the stores and merely five customers are allowed in for 10 minutes each. The queue goes all the way down the main road and around the corner.

” I spend a lot of day worrying about the future. I worked in town as a housekeeper for a Brazilian woman, but she was hit by a flying doorway in the hurricane and left. Many Chinese and Indian business owners have also returned home, leaving many of us with no jobs. Now my boss has gone; I am so stressed- I have no way of making money.

A parent hands breathing masks to his family. The burning of heaps of debris and rotten planks of timber has filled the air with abrasive smoke. Photograph: Tomas Ayuso/ Irin

” It feels like Dominica is finished .”

When Hurricane Maria struck, Dominica was still regaining from tropical storm Erika, which pummeled the island in August 2015. That calamity caused $483 m of damage there, in agreement with the World Bank, equivalent to 90% of its GDP. Estimations indicate Maria ran far greater devastation.

According to regulations set by the western-dominated Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, some Caribbean countries are considered too wealthy to qualify for aid. This is despite the fact that many western states have had centuries of fiscal ties with the region that began with the transatlantic slave trade.

Dominica has so far received a pledge of PS5m from the UK. Some relief has also come from UN bureaux such as Unicef. The children’s division of the organisation has been on the ground providing temporary learning spaces and classroom equipment.

Perhaps most beneficial has been its school-in-a-box kit, which contains materials for an entire classroom packed into a portable aluminium case. A box includes a solar/ wind-up radio and even an inflatable globe for geography lessons; the inside lid doubleds as a blackboard when coated with the special paint provided.

There are plans to reopen 25 of the country’s 76 government-owned primary and secondary schools, some of which were either damaged or being used for shelter.

Emrode, 14, has been unable to attend school.

Emrode, 14, has had no class for five weeks. He was in bed when Maria attained landfall and, where reference is ventured out at daybreak, he detected his home had being severely damaged. Many of his friends’ houses were obliterated, and his school’s roof was sliced off.

” So many homes were broken around here that nobody can come to school now. A lot of the buildings were made of wood and aluminium, and the hurricane only rent them to pieces. Most of my friends’ homes are damaged- and some don’t even have a home any more.

” I know fifth formers who are studying in tents, but there aren’t classes every day. Because I’m not sitting my main exams next year, my education is not considered as much of a priority as the older children.

” It’s so boring without school that I read books and do the horticulture to pass the time. Sometimes I gratify my friends and we play basketball or cricket. We would rather be at school, but we try not to think about that.

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All five living former US presidents make rare appearance together

Presidents gather for fundraiser of persons affected by hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

The five living former US presidents made a rare appearance together on stage on Saturday night at a fundraiser of persons affected by recent hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

It was a show of unity and compassion after a week in which Barack Obama and George W Bush transgressed an unwritten rule to deliver implicit criticism of the current occupant of the White House.

While neither mentioned Donald Trump by name, Bush gave a speech in New York expressing concern that” intolerance seems emboldened” in an atmosphere of cruel rhetoric and nativism, while Obama referred to the” politics of division” and” folks who are deliberately trying to stimulate folks angry” at Democratic campaign stops in New Jersey and Virginia.

Politics was set aside for the sold-out concert at Texas A& M University’s Reed Arena, however, as Bush, Obama, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George HW Bush were given a rapturous welcome by the audience. Both Bushes live in Texas and the 41 st president’s library and museum is on the A& M campus.

The event, Deep From The Heart: The One America Appeal, featured a host of country and gospel music starrings. It was launched last month after Hurricane Harvey battered Texas and expanded when Hurricane Irma hit Florida and Hurricane Maria devastated parts of the Caribbean, together causing several hundred deaths and billions of dollars in damage.

Trump, whose response to relief efforts in Puerto Rico has come under fire, has frequently disparaged Obama and earlier this year baselessly claimed his predecessor in the Oval Office ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped before the 2016 election. Last Monday he intimated Obama and other former presidents treated the families of dead military members with a lack of respect.

However, he recorded a two-minute video message for the appeal which was rather more collegial in tone.” Now, as we begin to rebuild, some of America’s finest public servant are spearheading the One America Appeal. Through this effort, all five living former chairmen are playing a tremendous role in helping our fellow citizens regain ,” he said.

“[ First Lady] Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance. This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation, under God, all unified by our values and our devotion to each other .”

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Tropical storm Nate poised to hit Gulf coast as hurricane over weekend

Storm blamed for 21 deaths in Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica, with Louisiana and Mississippi declare states of emergency amid evacuations

Forecasters said tropical storm Nate was likely to reach the US Gulf coast as a hurricane over the weekend, after being is the responsibility of at the least 21 deaths in Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.

The storm had maximum sustained gales of 50mph by Friday morning and was likely to strengthen over the north-western Caribbean before a possible ten-strike on the Cancun region at the tip-off of the Yucatan Peninsula at near hurricane strength.

Officials in Louisiana and Mississippi declared countries of state of emergency and Louisiana ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of Nate’s expected landfall on Saturday night or early on Sunday, potentially close to New Orleans.

Dozens of offshore oil and gas platforms and drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated. The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a news release that workers had been to withdraw from 66 Gulf production platforms as of late Friday morning. That was nearly 9% of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf. The bureau also said five drilling rigs had been evacuated and 11 other rigs had been moved out of the path of the blizzard.

An calculated 71% of the Gulf’s current oil production and 53% of its natural gas production has been “shut-in”, or temporarily halted, due to the cyclone. Offshore facilities will be inspected for injury once Nate pass.

The US National Hurricane Center( NHC) issued a hurricane warning from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border and warned that Nate could create sea level by 4ft to 7ft from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the western edge of Florida. Mississippi said it would open 11 evacuation shelters in areas away from the immediate coast, with bus available for people who could not drive.

In Louisiana, the governor, John Bel Edwards, proclaimed a state of emergency and mobilized 1,300 national guard troops. New Orleans officials outlined steps to bolster the city’s pump and drainage system, weaknesses in which were uncovered during summer flash floods. Fifteen national guard troops were headed to the city to monitor the pumping system.

With forecasts projecting landfall in south-east Louisiana as a category 1 hurricane, Edwards urged residents to ready for rainfall, storm upsurge and severe gale- and to be where they intend to hunker down by” dark on Saturday “.

Nate is forecast to move quickly, he said, rather than stall and drop-off tremendous sums of rain on the nation. State officers hope that will mean New Orleans will not run into problems with its pumps being able to handle the water. Edwards, however, warned against underestimating the storm.

Officials ordered the evacuation of part of the coastal St Bernard Parish east of New Orleans. On Thursday, a voluntary evacuation was called in the barrier island township of Grand Isle, south of New Orleans.

On Friday morning, the cyclone was situated about 125 miles east-south-east of the Mexican resort island of Cozumel and had accelerated its north-north-west motion to 21 mph.

In Nicaragua, Nate’s arrival followed 2 week of near-constant rain that had left the ground saturated and rivers swollen. Authorities placed the whole country on alert and warned of flooding and landslides.

The vice-president, Rosario Murillo, said at least 11 people succumbed due to the blizzard. On Thursday, she had said 15 people died, before saying some of those were still counted as missing. She did not give details on all the deaths, but said two women and a man who worked for the health ministry were swept away by a inundated canal in the central municipality of Juigalpa.

Costa Rica’s judicial investigation department blamed seven deaths on the blizzard and said 15 people were missing. Inundating drove 5,000 into emergency shelters. In Honduras, there were three dead and three missing, according to Oscar Triminio, spokesman for the country’s firefighters.

Damage caused by the storm inspired Costa Rican officials to postpone a World Cup qualifying football match between that country and Honduras, scheduled for Friday night.

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Donald Trump dedicates golf trophy to Puerto Rico amid disaster response criticism

Trump presents Presidents Cup to winner and says situation in hurricane-hit province is under really great control

The US president, Donald Trump, has dedicated a golf trophy to the hurricane victims of Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida, amid a worsening war of words between him and the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan, over the US response to the disasters.

Presenting the trophy to the US captain, Steve Stricker, at the President Cup golf tournament in New Jersey, Trump said:” On behalf of all of the people of Texas, and all of the people- if you look today and insure what is happening, how horrible it is, but we have it under really great control- Puerto Rico and the people of Florida who have really suffered over this last short period of time with the hurricanes, I want to simply recollect them.

” And we’re going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people that went through so much that we love, a part of our great country, really a part of our great nation .”

Trump tweeted a video of him presenting the trophy later on Sunday.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

Congratulations to #TeamUSA

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