For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 6, 2004
Responding to Hurricanes Charley and Frances
- President Bush announced that the Federal government will
take additional critical steps to help Florida and other affected
areas respond to the damage caused by Hurricanes Frances and Charley.
President Bush submitted a request for emergency funds to
the Congress to ensure that the response efforts in Florida and
elsewhere continue without any interruption. He is seeking immediate
Congressional approval of an emergency supplemental appropriations
bill, which will address the most urgent near-term needs of those
affected by the recent hurricanes in Florida and other affected areas,
as well as the need for federal emergency response agencies to remain
prepared for any other possible disasters. As more information becomes
available about the damage from Hurricane Frances, President Bush will
seek additional supplemental appropriations to ensure that the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other affected Federal agencies
can supply disaster victims from these storms with all necessary relief
On August 27, the President announced he would submit a
supplemental request to Congress of approximately $2 billion to
pay for the response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane
Charley. Because of the severity and timing of Hurricane Frances, the
President is now proposing enhanced federal relief to respond to
increased emergency needs in Florida and other affected areas. It is
extremely rare for two hurricanes -- a Category IV followed by a
Category II -- to hit the same geographical area within a three-week
period. The total supplemental budget requests for Hurricanes Charley
and Frances will eventually be higher than the original $2 billion
The request for the first supplemental appropriations request will
total $2.0 billion and include funds for FEMA, primarily for emergency
cleanup, emergency protective measures, and individual assistance. It
will also allow FEMA to support urgent Small Business Administration
disaster response efforts.
The request for further supplemental appropriations will be in
addition to this initial request, and its size and content will be
determined over the next week, as the scope of Hurricane Frances'
damage is assessed. It will provide additional FEMA funding for public
infrastructure assistance, emergency housing needs, and hazard
mitigation, as well as Small Business Administration disaster loan
assistance to businesses and homeowners, and HUD Community Development
Grants to support economic redevelopment projects and help repair or
replace damaged homes, properties, and businesses. Other activities
necessary for this disaster relief effort will be added as they are
To provide immediate aid to Florida's citrus industry, President
Bush has directed the Department of Agriculture to use existing
funding to help compensate citrus and vegetable growers for lost crops
and trees; to help pay the costs for clearing debris; and to work with
other agencies to help address housing needs of migrant farm workers.
In addition, other federal agencies will continue their ongoing relief
efforts using existing resources and programs.
Background: Federal Response to Hurricane Frances
As of noon Monday, in response to Hurricane Frances, FEMA and other
Federal response agencies have taken the following actions:
About one hundred trucks of water and 280 trucks of ice are
present or will arrive in the Jacksonville staging area today.
900,000 Meals-Ready-to-Eat are on site in Jacksonville, ready to be
- Over 7,000 cases of food (e.g., vegetables, fruits, cheese, ham,
and turkey) are scheduled to arrive in Winter Haven today.
Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) are on the ground and setting
up comfort stations. FEMA community relations personnel will
coordinate with DMATs to assist victims.
Urban Search and Rescue Teams are completing reconnaissance
missions in coordination with state officials.
- FEMA is coordinating with the Department of Energy and the state
to ensure that necessary fuel supplies can be distributed
throughout the state, with a special focus on hospitals and other
emergency facilities that are running on generators.
- The Army Corps of Engineers will soon begin its efforts to provide
tarps to tens of thousands of owners of homes and buildings that have
seen damage to their roofs.
- The National Guard has called up 4,100 troops in Florida, as well
as thousands in other nearby states to assist in the distribution
of supplies and in preparation for any flooding.
- The Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs,
and Defense together have organized 300 medical personnel to be on
standby. Medical personnel will begin deployment to Florida tomorrow.
- FEMA is coordinating public information messages with Georgia,
Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina so that evacuees from Florida
can be informed when it is safe to return.
- In addition to federal personnel already in place to respond to
Hurricane Charley, 1,000 additional community relations personnel are
being deployed to Atlanta for training and further assignment in