THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Chicago, Illinois) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release September 25, 1998
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Hurricane Georges, which is bearing down on South Florida, has already cost many American citizens their lives in Puerto Rico, as well as caused huge human and material harm throughout the Caribbean. As we prepare for the impact of the storm on the mainland, we are working to bring relief to those already affected by the storm, and to help them to begin rebuilding.
Yesterday, I declared Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to be disaster areas. Already, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent over 200 emergency relief workers to assess the damage. I have sent Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo and Small Business Administrator Aida Alvarez to Puerto Rico, to report to me on what further steps need to be taken. We are gravely concerned about the loss of life and property in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and will continue to work at the highest levels to bring the islands and their people back.
We are also working to help those affected outside our borders. Yesterday, I sent an emergency response team from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, together with relief workers and supplies. I have asked Hugh Palmer, the head of Humanitarian Response Programs at the Agency for International Development, to go to the Dominican Republic this weekend to assess the damage, supervise our efforts, and report to me on what further should be done.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have felt the force of this storm.