U.S. Congress approves $956 million for Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill for countries affected by Hurricane Georges and Mitch
(More than $950 million in disaster relief approved) (740)
WASHINGTON -- U.S. assistance to hurricane-ravaged countries in Central America and the Caribbean will increase by nearly $1,000 million, following congressional approval May 20 of an emergency supplemental spending bill.
The bulk of the funds will be used for reconstruction assistance, disaster mitigation, and debt relief, the White House said in a May 21 statement.
The legislation will also be presented at the international donors' conference that begins in Stockholm May 24, and will provide "important leverage" in prompting other nations to increase their aid to the region, according to the statement.
Following is the White House text: (begin text)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
May 21, 1999
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
With passage of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, President Clinton has succeeded in obtaining the $956 million he requested to address vital relief and reconstruction needs in Central America and the Caribbean in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Mitch and Georges. The package follows through on the President's commitment to stand by our neighbors to the South as they rebuild for their future.
The bill provides reconstruction assistance,
disaster mitigation, and debt relief and will be channeled primarily through
nongovernmental organizations in cooperation with U.S. government agencies.
It also replenishes programs at the Department of Defense, the Department
of Treasury, and the U.S. Agency for International Development that were
depleted to pay for the immediate humanitarian relief provided by the U.S. after the hurricanes hit.
The supplemental bill will be presented at the upcoming donor conference in Stockholm in which donors throughout Asia and Europe will meet to discuss reconstruction priorities and pledge assistance. The bill will provide an important leverage in prompting other nations to donate to the region.
Specifically, the bill provides:
-- $136 million for Public Health Programs
to reconstruct or rehabilitate 783 health posts and clinics, to provide
sanitation services for nearly 4 million people, as well as disease control, surveillance and prevention for 17.5 million people.
-- $283 million to restart these economies
by constructing or repairing 720 kilometers of rural roads, by providing
micro-enterprise loans for seeds, tools, and fertilizer for 4.8 million people, and by helping 65,000 hillside farmers adopt
sustainable production techniques.
-- $55 million to provide emergency shelter for 20,000 people, to repair and re-equip over 1700 schools and provide school supplies for over 200,000 children, and to build 6,400 new housing units.
-- $11.5 million to help local governments manage reconstruction assistance and improve planning for future disasters, including provision of anti-corruption training for municipal government and NGO employees so that they will be able to thwart the diversion of assistance.
-- $2 million to support the clearance of landmines and other unexploded ordnance in Nicaragua and Honduras.
-- $62.3 million to fully fund expanded U.S. Reserve "New Horizons" exercises in the four Central American countries and in the Dominican Republic.
-- $10 million for law enforcement to
design and implement anti-corruption programs including development of
audit/oversight mechanisms and automated immigration records to facilitate information sharing at all border-crossing points.
-- $64 million to provide technical assistance
for environmental management and disaster mitigation including land use
planning and appropriate resource management, assistance for the protection
of key ecosystems, and replacement of destroyed harbor navigation aids
in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador with improved Global Positioning
-- $41 million for debt relief including $25 million to contribute to a Central American Emergency Trust Fund that will help the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions defer debt payments from these Central American countries.
-- $158.6 million to replenish accounts in the Department of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development for the immediate humanitarian relief they provided soon after the hurricanes hit.
-- $42 million for public health programs, economic support, and other reconstruction and disaster mitigation assistance for the countries devastated by Hurricane Georges.
-- $10 million to address the effects of the earthquake in Colombia.
-- $5.5 million to fund administrative costs incurred by the U.S. Agency for International Development, plus $1.5 million to fund AID's Inspector General to be used for audits and inspections, and $0.5 million for the General Accounting Office to audit and monitor the use of supplemental funds.