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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 24, 1998


            President and First Lady Extend Condolences
                  to Victims of Hurricane Georges

On behalf of the American people, President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton extend heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the victims of Hurricane Georges and their families. Hurricane Georges has devastated parts of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Antigua, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As a result of the terrible losses caused by the storm and the need to focus all available resources on assisting and helping these communities to recover fully, Mrs. Clinton has decided to postpone her trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which was scheduled for September 27-29. She intends to continue with her planned trip to Santiago, Chile to attend the Conference of First Ladies and Wives of Heads of States of the Americas on September 30 and to Montevideo, Uruguay to attend the Vital Voices of the Americas Conference. Mrs. Clinton will reschedule her trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic for sometime in November.

The United States also has communicated to the affected governments our readiness to provide relief as soon as possible to the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As an initial step, our Embassies have made available $25,000 from USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) for the purchase of food, water, blankets and other emergency requirements. USAID/OFDA has scheduled a military C-130 to fly to the region on Friday with provisions for additional shelter and debris-clearing tools, along with fire and rescue personnel from OFDA, the Pan-American Health Association and Metro-Dade county of Florida. OFDA disaster assessment teams will be arriving in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as rapidly as possible.

Following these assessments, we anticipate significant additional support to assist the two countries in restoring basic services and in responding to health, humanitarian and basic infrastructure requirements. OFDA is also coordinating U.S. assistance to other countries in the Caribbean affected by the hurricane.

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