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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 12, 1998
                             EXISTS IN FLORIDA 

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Florida and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery in the area struck by severe storms, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding on February 2-4, 1998.

"The damage and disaster caused by El Nino have been particularly punishing to residents of South Florida -- and my thoughts and prayers are with the hundreds of people in Broward, Dade, and Monroe counties, whose homes and businesses have been either badly damaged or destroyed, Vice President Gore said. President Clinton and I are committed to doing everything we can to help the families of South Florida in this difficult time, and to ensure a speedy recovery for all affected by this tragedy."

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in a three-county area. The counties are Broward, Dade and Monroe.

Assistance can include disaster housing, grants, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Federal funding is also available on a cost share basis for hazard mitigation measures.

The agency also said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional counties may be added after the assessments are complete.