Office of the Press Secretary
(Wall Street Landing Zone
New York, New York)

For Immediate Release Tuesday, September 21, 1999


9:20 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everyone. I'm a little hoarse -- forgive me. I want to begin my visit by expressing our concern and support for the families and the communities in this area recovering from Hurricane Floyd.

As you know, I traveled to North Carolina yesterday and saw some of the worst storm damage and flooding that I have, personally, ever seen. I know people in New Jersey and New York have also been injured. I want to thank the city, county and state officials for all the work they have done to get help to people quickly where it's needed.

We are doing all we can at the federal level, and I'd like to mention just three things. First, last Saturday, I issued a major disaster declaration for New Jersey. Sunday I issued a similar one for Orange, Rockland, Putnam and Westchester Counties in New York. These actions help to speed federal assistance for individuals and communities recovering from flood damage.

Second, FEMA officials are on the ground now responding to the challenges with clean water, housing, and restoring communication and power links. Housing inspectors, small business teams, community relations specialists are on the scene to help meet people's needs. Starting today, AmeriCorps volunteers will be helping people clean up the damages to their homes and pick up the pieces of their lives.

Third, I'm sending our FEMA Director, James Lee Witt, to New Jersey and New York today to inspect the damage and report back immediately on what more we need to do. I want to make sure that the assistance is delivered responsibly, efficiently, and in adequate amounts.

Again I want to say, as I did yesterday, that in difficult times like this, we're reminded that the power of the American spirit is even stronger than the power of the hurricane. The American people are supporting all those who have been injured in this, and we will stand by them until they recover.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

END 9:23 A.M. EDT

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