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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Honolulu, Hawaii)

For Immediate Release September 15, 1999
                      STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
                          ON HURRICANE FLOYD

                        Hickam Air Force Base
                           Honolulu, Hawaii

10:00 A.M. (L)

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Let me first say it's good to be back on American soil after a very good week at the APEC conference in New Zealand. I'm especially anxious to get back to Washington to help to deal with the problems caused by hurricane Floyd.

I have just had telephone calls with our FEMA director, James Lee Witt, who has been giving me regular updates. And as you know, the storm currently, in its rain form, is battering Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and is targeting the entire Northeast.

These states are now engaged in the largest peacetime evacuation in our history. Yesterday, I announced emergency declarations for Florida and Georgia. Today, I am issuing similar declarations for South Carolina and North Carolina. I have just spoken with both Governor Hunt of North Carolina and Governor Hodges of South Carolina. I've assured them that we would do everything we can to help them, and they've given me updates on the problems that they expect to encounter -- particularly problems for the farmers in those areas, who, if there is severe flooding, could well lose their entire crops.

Let me commend the efforts of FEMA, the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, and the other federal agencies and state and local officials who are working around the clock to protect people and property. Their efforts, along with new technologies, have enhanced our ability to predict and prepare for these storms. I hope that every citizen will heed the warnings of these officials, and the recommendations to take every action to protect their families and stay out of harm's way. Meanwhile, we will continue to take extraordinary measures to protect lives and property from hurricane Floyd.

As always, in times of crisis, I am inspired by the way our people come together and work together. It proves that the American spirit is stronger than the force of any storm. We will keep working on this. I'm going to leave here in a few minutes, and I'll be getting regular updates. It does seem that the entry point of the storm has moved considerably north from where it was predicted to move. But it is still very, very powerful, and if the present predictions hold clear, there'll be a lot of wind and an enormous amount of water on the coast in South Carolina and North Carolina within the next few hours.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 10:03 A.M. (L)