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                     OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY
                        (Aboard Air Force One)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  November 23, 1999

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the U.S. Virgin Islands and ordered Federal aid to supplement territory and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Hurricane Lenny on November 17, 1999, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals and local governments in the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas.

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 also is available to eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged by Hurricane Lenny. Federal funding is also available on a cost share basis for hazard mitigation measures.

The Agency said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.