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 Home > News & Policies > September 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 6, 2004

Responding to Hurricanes Charley and Frances

Presidential Action

  • 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 to recover.
  • 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 previously planned.
  • 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 identified.
  • 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 distributed.
  • 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 Florida.