HOUSTON: The city of Houston on Saturday witnessed two milestones on its road to recovery from Hurricane Harvey: a visit from the president of the United States and the return of baseball a week after deadly floodwaters engulfed the metropolis.

President Donald Trump, in a widely watched test of his handling of the disaster, distributed food and played with children at a center for evacuees in his first trip to Houston since it was slammed by one of the most destructive storms to hit the United States.

A few miles away, Major League Baseball returned to downtown Houston for the first time since Harvey came ashore last Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in 50 years, bringing a welcome distraction to the fourth-most populous city, facing years of rebuilding.

In his second Texas visit since the storm struck, the president and his wife, Melania Trump, were greeted warmly on an unannounced stop to NRG center, a convention complex converted into a facility to assist storm evacuees.

“Really, I think people appreciate what has been done,” Trump told reporters. “It has been done very efficiently, very well. There is a lot of love, a lot of love.”

The visit gave Trump an opportunity to show an empathetic side to victims. Some have criticized him for staying clear of the disaster zone during a Texas visit on Tuesday, when he said he did not want to hamper rescue efforts.

The storm is expected to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, displacing more than 1 million people and leaving behind wreckage in an area stretching more than 300 miles (480 kms).

Some areas of Texas received more than 50 inches (127 cm) of rain and the storm led to the deaths of at least 47 people.

The city of Houston ordered a mandatory evacuation for about 4,600 residences in the western part, where several hundred people have not left their homes.

“Put your own personal safety above your property,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said, adding that residents should also consider the safety of first responders who would have to handle any emergencies.

The Trump administration on Friday asked Congress for a $7.85 billion appropriation for response and initial recovery efforts. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who accompanied the Trumps, has said his state may need more than $125 billion.

The first couple’s initial stop was at the center’s “kid zone” where they hugged and chatted with some children playing there. At one point, Trump, dressed in a black rain jacket and no tie, picked up a child and kissed her on the cheek.