FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President took the action early this evening after receiving from FEMA expedited requests for federal relief from the governors of the hurricane-affected islands.
"The President has committed all necessary federal resources to help meet immediate needs and protect life and property," Witt said. "We already have been deploying people and supplies in advance to ensure that these critical emergency needs are met as fast as possible."
The assistance provided by the emergency declarations can range as required from the use of federal personnel, equipment and lifesaving systems to the delivery of power generators, chain saws, plastic sheeting, tents, cots, food, medical supplies and other essential emergency materials for sustaining human life.
Under the declarations, Witt said the cost for emergency work undertaken by the federal government at the request of the island governments will be funded at 75 percent federal share. He indicated that additional forms of federal aid to help meet long-term recovery needs will be determined as soon as damage can be assessed in the stricken islands.
Witt named Barbara T. Russell of FEMA to serve as the federal coordinating officer for the U.S. Virgin Islands relief effort, and Jose A. Bravo, of FEMA's Caribbean area office, to serve in the same capacity for Puerto Rico.
Updated: November 18, 1999