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 Home > News & Policies > September 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 14, 2004

Responding to Hurricanes Charley and Frances
Fact Sheet

Presidential Action

  • President Bush on September 14, 2004 submitted a supplemental budget request totaling $3.1 billion to the Congress to help Florida and other affected areas respond to the damage caused by Hurricanes Charley and Frances.
  • The funds requested will go primarily to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is leading response and recovery efforts in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and elsewhere. This request is in addition to an earlier, already approved request for $2 billion to help in the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes.
  • Funding will also be provided to the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Defense, and Veterans Affairs. Funds are also being sought for the Corps of Engineers, NASA, the Small Business Administration, and for the American Red Cross. These funds will provide for a variety of disaster-relief efforts and the repair and restoration of federal government facilities.
  • 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. With this request, the total supplemental budget request for Hurricanes Charley and Frances will exceed $5 billion, bringing total federal grant and loan assistance to hurricane-affected areas to more than $7 billion.
  • President Bush remains concerned that Hurricane Ivan may cause further damage to the Southeastern United States, and so he has alerted Congressional leaders that he may recommend, prior to final action on this current request, additional supplemental funding for emergency cleanup, protective measures, and individual assistance associated with Hurricane Ivan.

Presidential Action: Funding Response, Recovery, and Repairs

The $3.1 billion request will be divided among several federal agencies. The key categories of assistance are:

  • Emergency Response and Recovery
    • FEMA-led direct assistance to families and individuals, including payments to help cover uninsured damages to property and public infrastructure: $2.0 billion.
    • Small Business Administration loan supports and guarantees for affected small businesses: $457 million.
    • Department of Health and Human Services programs, including those that provide free meals and medicines for affected seniors: $50 million.
    • Direct assistance to the American Red Cross, which plays a critical role in providing disaster relief, and whose resources have been severely tested by back-to-back major disasters. The American Red Cross traditionally relies on the support of private donors, and is expected to continue to do so; but in this instance, the President believes assistance to the work of the Red Cross is appropriate: $70 million.
  • Critical Infrastructure Repairs
    • HUD Community Development Block Grants to pay for emergency repairs to damaged homes, including migrant farm-worker housing, and for economic redevelopment projects: $150 million.
    • Repairs to major federal facilities, including Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics, national wildlife refuges and national parks, and key structures owned and run by NASA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Defense: $252 million.
    • Repair and restoration of federally-maintained shipping navigation channels and flood-control projects: $118 million.
  • The supplemental request is in addition to Department of Agriculture efforts to assist nurseries, and citrus and vegetable growers for lost crops and trees, using existing funding. The Department is also helping to pay the costs for clearing debris. In addition, other federal agencies will continue their ongoing relief efforts using existing resources and programs.

Background: Federal Recovery Efforts to Hurricane Charley and Frances

  • For several weeks, federal agencies have worked to help Florida and other areas respond to Hurricanes Charley and Frances. As damage to Hurricane Frances has become known, the federal government has contributed some of the following emergency response efforts (as of September 12):
    • FEMA has received 193,000 registrations for assistance, and has disbursed over $108 million in assistance to families and individuals in response to Hurricane Charley.
    • FEMA has received 111,000 registrations for assistance, and has disbursed over $35 million in assistance to families and individuals in response to Hurricane Frances.
    • There are 17 FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Centers currently open, providing victims with information on various disaster assistance programs and advice on how to rebuild wisely in the wake of the hurricane.
    • 435 truckloads of water are on hand at various staging areas in response to Frances.
    • 20 truckloads of donated food were received this week; 56 truckloads will arrive this week.
    • 6 million MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) have been purchased and delivered to Florida, with an additional 5 million additional MREs ordered to respond both Frances and Charley.
    • FEMA has provided more than 86,000 tarps to county Emergency Operations Centers for distribution for victims of both hurricanes. Plastic sheeting has been installed as a temporary roof repair on about 8,000 homes.
    • The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $39 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses.
    • Approximately 5 million cubic yards of debris has been cleared.
    • Six Disaster Medical Assistance teams are in the field, with two additional teams staged for assignment if needed. To date, more than 1,000 patients have been treated.