WASHINGTON, USA - US President Barack Obama will ask Congress for $60.4 billion in emergency funds to repair devastation from superstorm Sandy, which hit the US east coast in October, a White House official said Friday, December 7.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the package would enable their states to "recover, repair, and rebuild better and stronger than before."
Sandy, whipping up hurricane force winds and a storm surge, roared ashore on October 29, killing more than 110 people, flooding the New York subway system and knocking out electricity for hundreds of thousands of people.
The floods and wind also destroyed or damaged hundreds of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals, and created chaos in fuel supplies after refineries and gas stations were damaged.
Obama's request, which will likely trigger fierce infighting in Congress, is lower than the more than $80 billion cost of the damage assessed in the three worst-hit states, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Christie, a Republican, and Cuomo, a Democrat, were both at the White House in recent days as negotiations climaxed on the request for funding outside already lodged budget requests that Obama will make to lawmakers.
They said that in addition to repairing the damage, the package would fund "essential mitigation and prevention efforts that will better protect our region against the devastating impacts of future superstorms."
"We thank President Obama for his steadfast commitment of support and look forward to continuing our partnership in the recovery effort," they said in a joint statement.
Some 233,000 New Jersey residents have already asked for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, he added.
In New York State, more than 305,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy, along with 265,000 businesses. - Agence France-Presse
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