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Obama asks for $5.1 billion in disaster relief
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Sept 9, 2011

US President Barack Obama Friday asked Congress for an additional $5.1 billion in disaster relief funding through fiscal year 2012, after a string of storms battered the United States.

The request, contained in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, includes costs resulting from Hurricane Irene which roared up the US east coast two weeks ago, sparking floods and killing more than 40 people.

Heavy rains and wind pounded coastal and other areas as Irene swept through, leaving millions without power, houses destroyed and widespread flooding.

Areas in North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and Vermont were particularly hard hit.

In recent days, more torrential rains, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, have slammed into the southern Gulf Coast and dumped large amounts of water on the American south, the mid-Atlantic region and northeast.

Specifically, Obama asked for a supplemental appropriations request for fiscal year 2011 of $500 billion and a budget amendment for fiscal year 2012 for the Department of Homeland Security.

The request includes $1.5 billion related to damage from Irene.

Disaster aid from Irene has already become embroiled in the political anger and dysfunction which has enveloped Washington.

The dispute arose after Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was quoted as saying disaster relief money should be paid for with cuts to other programs, with cash-strapped Washington's debt now eclipsing $14.3 trillion.

But he later said the reports were "inaccurate."

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Earthquakes, storms, floods slam insurers: SwissRe
Zurich (AFP) Sept 9, 2011
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