Texas Gov asks Bush for hurricane clean-up aid
Bush also called FEMA to quickly find homes for refugees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
NEW YORK – Texas Gov. Rick Perry has asked President George W. Bush to overturn a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which rejected the governor’s request to fully cover the costs of Hurricane Rita’s clean-up.
The Republican governor, in his letter to Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, also called on FEMA to quickly find homes for refugees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Some 15,000 of these refugees will soon be evicted from the apartments they were housed in «because no rent has been paid for three months or serious lease violations have occurred,» wrote Perry in a letter released late Tuesday.
Spokesmen for FEMA and Perry were not immediately available to say how much the state and its counties were spending on housing refugees or cleaning up the debris left by the two hurricanes.
Katrina slammed the U.S. Gulf on August 29, and Texas took in as many as 400,000 refugees in the days afterward.
Perry said another 5,000 of the refugees who were temporarily placed in apartments will be evicted next month.
«It poses significant issues for our communities concerning how to handle thousands of individuals who suddenly find themselves homeless again,» Perry wrote.
Perry urged FEMA to give Texas the same relief afforded Louisiana. He noted that the costs of cleaning up after Hurricane Rita, which walloped Texas and Louisiana on September 24, were running 50 percent higher than the Army Corps of Engineers’ initial forecasts.
Perry had asked FEMA to pay 100 percent of the hurricane clean-up costs for another 60 days after the initial reimbursement period ended.
But Chertoff instead ruled the Texas counties should pay 25 percent of the costs. The FEMA chief gave Louisiana a 30-day extension on its aid. That means the federal government will pay 90 percent of Louisiana’s clean-up costs during that period, Perry added.