THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES FEDERAL AGENCY EFFORTS IN RESPONSE TO
September 20, 1999
Today, President Clinton will travel to North Carolina to see first-hand the effects of Hurricane Floyd and the recovery efforts underway. The President will announce the following federal agency efforts:
The Department of Agriculture
Building on a series of measures to help disaster assistance, the President will announce that the Department of Agriculture is approving a Disaster Food Stamp Program to help families buy nutritious foods for their families. Effective immediately, USDA is making low-interest loans (3.75%) available to help farmers cope with losses they've suffered in both crops and property. In addition, USDA is offering financial and technical assistance to farmers through the Emergency Conservation Program to repair or replace damaged fences, conservation practices, and remove debris from their property.
Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP): USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has established a Disaster Coordination Center in Atlanta and several Disaster Area Recovery Teams are available to help southeast coastal communities assess and repair environmental damages. NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to help repair damage to rivers, streams, reservoirs, and other waterways (much of this work will be removing log jams and other debris), restore the integrity of flood control structures, and reseed damaged areas. Based on previous disasters such as Hurricane Fran, NRCS estimates at least $17 million will be needed for EWP work. Disaster recovery teams will move into the flooded areas as soon as the waters recede and we'll have a more accurate figure by late next week.
Emergency Farm Loans: In counties declared by the President or designated by the Secretary as disaster areas, USDA's Farm Service Agency can make low-interest loans to eligible farmers to help them recover from the loss of production or physical losses.
Technical Assistance: In addition to EWP, NRCS technical experts (engineers, biologists, agronomists, soil scientists, etc.) are also available to help communities and private landowners repair other types of environmental damage, including beach erosion, sand dune degradation, and farmland soil erosion.
Forest Service Assistance: The USDA Forest Service has three incident management teams on standby to help in recovery efforts for Hurricane Floyd. Staff operating during the recovery effort will include chainsaw teams to clear roads and other areas closed by fallen trees, and logistics specialists involved with purchasing and distributing equipment and supplies, such as generators, bottled water, and plastic to cover homes that have lost their roofs.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP): NAP applies to crops for which federal crop insurance is currently unavailable. Eligible commodities include commercially produced crops grown for food or fiber and the following specified crops: floriculture, ornamental nursery and Christmas tree crops, turfgrass sod, industrial crops and aquacultural species.
Emergency Conservation Program: This USDA program enables producers to restore land to its productive capacity by funding debris removal, fence rebuilding, and restoration of conservation structures.
Mortgage Repayment: Borrowers with homes financed by USDA that have been damaged by disaster may request to have their mortgage payments suspended temporarily.
Department of Labor
Today, the President will announce that the Department of Labor is authorizing $12 million in emergency funds for North Carolina to create temporary jobs to assist in the cleanup and restoration activities in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd. The temporary jobs created must be involved in some way in the disaster recover effort - either in the cleanup of debris, restoration of public and private non-profit facilities, humanitarian assistance to disaster victims or clerical support activities such as processing of assistance applications.
The Small Business Administration
Disaster Assistance: SBA's Disaster Assistance Program serves as the federal disaster bank in the wake of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes and other physical disasters. Once a disaster declaration has been made, those who suffered uninsured or underinsured losses may be eligible for the following loans from SBA:
Home Disaster Loans: These loans are made to homeowners or renters to repair or replace damaged real estate or personal property losses. Individuals may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace real estate, $40,000 to cover losses to personal property and an additional 20% for mitigation. Refinancing of existing liens is sometimes possible. Business Physical Disaster Loans: These loans for businesses to repair or replace damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, equipment, inventory and supplies. Non-farm businesses of any size, as well as non-profit organizations are eligible. The loan limit for business loans is $1.5 million. Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): EDIL provide needed working capital until normal operations resume after a physical disaster. These loans cover operating expenses the business could have paid but for the disaster. They are restricted to small businesses. The loan limit for both physical and EIDL is $1.5 million.
The Department of Defense
The Department of Defense is part of the interagency emergency response team that is assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in its response to Hurricane Floyd all along the eastern coast of the United States. DoD is providing personnel, equipment, and supplies to help FEMA save lives and protect public health, safety, and property.
DoD support to domestic disasters, and associated planning efforts, are done in concert with and following the lead of FEMA. DoD has primary responsibility for Emergency Support Function 3 (Public Works and Engineering) and fulfills their commitment through the US Army Corps of Engineers. The National Guard also provides support, under control of the Governor and state Adjutant General, to respective state emergency management operations.
Pre-Landfall: Approximately 115 DoD personnel were engaged in pre-landfall response operations with liaison teams at state emergency operations centers in FL, GA, SC and NC. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) provided prime power teams and technical assistance to ensure FEMA generators were operational. Pre-scripted contracts for ice and water were activated and numerous USACE planning teams were deployed to Federal and state emergency operations centers. Approximately 3,439 Army and Air National Guard troops were activated under state control for State Active Duty. They assisted in providing traffic control for the largest peacetime evacuations many of these states have ever seen. They provided security, transportation, and aviation assets, medical support, and emergency power and communications in each of their states. The DoD Director of Military Support (DOMS) established a 24-hour Crisis Response Center at the Pentagon in support of FEMA as the Lead Federal Agency. DOMS established contact with all potential DoD response organizations, coordinating requests for DOD assistance.
Immediate Response: Over 50 helicopters from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Army National Guard, and Air Guard were involved in Search and Rescue missions. Most were in North Carolina, but assets were deployed in New Jersey and other states as well. Aviation assets were also used to transport emergency medical patients and provide over flights for damage assessment teams. The USS JFK performed an at sea rescue shortly after it departed for safe haven. Fort Bragg, NC, Shaw Air Force Base, SC, and McGuire AFB/Fort Dix, NJ are activated as FEMA mobilization sites.
By nightfall of September 19, the USACE has monitored the delivery of 2 million pounds of ice, 500 thousand gallons of bottled water, and 1 million sandbags to areas affected by the hurricane in North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and South Carolina. The USACE is working closely with local, state, and Federal officials and actively monitoring flood stages and conditions on rivers in North Carolina and southern Virginia. At the peak of Hurricane Floyd, there were 324 DoD personnel engaged in various disaster response operations - 142 Army, 39 Navy, 12 USMC, 9 USAF, 92 Army civilians, 9 USAR, 15 USNR, and 6 USAFR. Approximately 11,706 National Guard troops were under state control on State Active Duty.
Current Efforts: Multi-service aviation assets continue to support search and rescue, critical transport, and damage assessment. The VXIII Airborne Corps, is providing both UH 60 and CH 47 support for re-supply missions in Kinston and Halifax. Additional lift and MEDEVAC aircraft are on call. CINCLANTFLT is providing CH 46 and H-3 Helicopters. Air Combat Command has HH-60 and C-130 aircraft in support. MARFORLANT is supporting with CH 46 and CH 53 helicopters.
The USACE is surveying sites for temporary housing and assessing damage to intercoastal waterways and beaches. The USACE continues to contract for ice/water for delivery to staging areas (Kinston, Willington, and Roanoke Rapids) and preparing to provide prime power restoration, plastic sheeting, and debris removal is required. They are also surveying sites for temporary housing and assessing damage around the state.
There are presently 2,591 National Guard personnel under state control on State Active Duty in North Carolina.
The Department of Treasury
Tax Filing Deadline Extended: Last week, the IRS extended the deadline for filing estimated tax payments, and corporate, partnership or fiduciary returns that were due on September 15, 1999. The deadline is extended for "taxpayers who may be unable to meet their federal tax obligations because of Hurricane Floyd" until September 30, 1999.
The Department of Commerce
Secretarial Declaration: On Monday, September 20, Secretary Daley will sign a disaster declaration requesting Congress to specifically appropriate funds designated to assist the fishing industry and community with the economic impact estimated at $15.5 - 20 million in losses. Both Dennis and Floyd compounded the loss. The fisheries (crab, oyster, and shrimp) will be lost for the season affecting the livelihoods of 7,000 fisherman along the North Carolina coast.
Technical Assistance: NOAA is positioned to provide aerial photography of the North Carolina coastal communities to assist both federal and state agencies in assessing the damages.
Surveying: NOAA can provide assistance in surveying North Carolina harbors and ports to locate any flood debris and obstacles that could damage vessels that use the harbor and prevent transportation to coastal areas in need.
Water Sampling: Provide water sampling strategies to provide a rapid response evaluation of pollution levels due to flooding and impact to water treatment plants.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Disaster Team: In North Carolina, HUD has a Disaster Team made up of fifteen individuals from all of the program areas as well as community builders. The Disaster Team has been in contact with the North Carolina State Emergency Management and Division of Community Assistance
Public Housing Authority: There is $10 million in grant money available that will be made to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) that have sustained damages caused by Hurricane Floyd. This is new money that is available to repair damage sustained by public housing as a result of the President?s declaration. The public housing authorities (PHAs) in the affected areas are eligible to apply for these grant funds after exhausting other funding resources, including insurance. Local HUD staff will be available to provide general technical assistance.
HUD Mortgagee Letter: For the benefit of homeowners with FHA insured mortgages, HUD will issue a Mortgagee letter that places a 90 day moratorium on foreclosures for properties directly affected by Hurricane Floyd (beginning with the date of declaration); makes available mortgage insurance relief under the Section 203(h) special mortgage program which provides 100 percent financing, with no down payment requirement, for individuals and families whose home were destroyed or substantially damaged by Hurricane Floyd; makes available Section 203(k) rehabilitation mortgages regardless of the age of the property (waiving the one year requirement); and, allows FHA mortgagors whose homes are completely destroyed to qualify for a new FHA insured mortgage loan without consideration of the existing mortgage payments.
Temporary Housing and Shelter: HUD will make available to residents displaced by storms temporary housing and shelter from public housing, privately owned assisted housing and HUD owned multi-family real estate portfolios. The number of units available in North Carolina is currently not known due to the flooding; however, 900 units are available in New Jersey.
The Department of Energy
The Office of Emergency Management will stay in contact with their state and local counterparts to support restoration of essential energy systems along the eastern seaboard. Yesterday's peak outage was located in North Carolina with more than 1,000,000 customers without power. Currently, there are approximately 525,000 customers in North Carolina without power.
Over 20,000 crew personnel from more than 10 states are working on the total restoration effort in all the affected states. Entries to damaged areas are constrained due to storm damage and flooded roadways.
The Environmental Protection Agency
A team from EPA remains ready to assist in helping restore water treatment facilities once the water recedes.