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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 18, 1994
                                RECENT DISASTERS

The President today notified the Congress that he is making available $417 million in emergency budgetary resources to meet additional needs that have arisen from the Southern California earthquake and other recent disasters.

Included in that total is $326 million in Small Business Administration loans to earthquake victims; $47.5 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs to construct a new ambulatory care/research facility to replace the earthquake-damaged hospital at the Sepulveda California Medical Center; and $28 million to the Department of Labor to finance temporary jobs for dislocated workers to support cleanup, repair, and reconstruction of earthquake-damaged property.

The emergency resources will come from contingency funds previously provided by the Congress under two separate laws.

"The people of Southern California are responding courageously to the challenge of restoring their lives and their communities in the wake of the earthquake," the President said. "From the first day, our Administration has been working extremely hard to fulfill the Federal Government's obligation to help make that possible.

"This new assistance reflects new costs that have come to our attention in recent weeks. My Administration is continuing to monitor the situation, and we will continue to provide the necessary assistance as additional needs become evident."

Other earthquake-related funds released by the President today include: $8 million for the Department of Commerce for local economic development planning and assistance to minority businesses; $2.5 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help families find housing and study housing issues related to the earthquake; $2 million for the Department of Transportation to repair Federal Aviation Administration earthquake-damaged air traffic control and other facilities; and $2.8 million for the Corporation for National and Community Service to expand and coordinate service programs in earthquake- affected areas.

The President's action also provides $12.2 million for the Department of the Interior for several activities related to recovery efforts from last year's Midwest floods, including: $3.9 million for the Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire environmentally valuable wetlands on or near national wildlife refuges that would otherwise revert to agricultural production and face the threat of costly future floods; $1.8 million for the U.S. Geological Survey to help the interagency Scientific and Assessment Team complete the Administration's Floodplain Management study; $1 million for the Fish and Wildlife Service to create computerized wetlands maps of the flooded areas and repair its facilities damaged by the flood; and $5.5 million for the National Park Service's historic preservation fund to repair levee damage in St. Genevieve, Missouri.

The notification to the Congress came in a letter from the President to House Speaker Thomas S. Foley.

The $326 million in Small Business Administration loans for California is based on $75 million in budget authority. The budget authority comes from a contingency fund established by the Dire Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1992. It is needed because previous estimates of loan requirements have proven to be too low.

The remainder of the funds for the earthquake and the Midwest floods -- $103 million -- will come from the $550 million provided by this year's earthquake supplemental legislation as a contingency fund to be used by the President to respond to additional needs arising from the earthquake and other disasters. These funds will be available to be spent 15 days after today's notification to the Congress.

Including the funds released today, the Administration and the Congress have provided $9.8 billion in budgetary resources to be made available to individuals, businesses, and communities in California to aid earthquake-recovery efforts.