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Bush Earmarks $10 Million for Florida

Bush Earmarks $10 Million for Florida

By Rudy Abramson
Los Angeles Times


President Bush Wednesday set aside $10 million for 5,000 cleanup workers while corporations joined in the first trickle of financial aid to Florida communities laid waste in what may be the country's most expensive natural disaster.

The estimate of homeless, put at 50,000 earlier in the week, was upped to 180,000 three days after the storm broadsided the peninsula.

"If there are three people per home, you are talking about 180,000 homeless," Sen. Bob Graham of Florida said after meeting with Dade County officials who estimated that 63,000 homes were destroyed.

Although survivors were turning to the formidable tasks of rebuilding, the numbers in Red Cross and Dade County shelters did not greatly decline because many returned had home for the first time only to find their dwellings uninhabitable.

On Tuesday night, nearly 120,000 persons remained in shelters. For those in the hardest-hit area of south Dade County, the most desperate need was for money, since scores of thousands had lost everything.

The cost of rebuilding is too stupendous for credible estimate. While Dade County officials put the toll at $15 billion to $20 billion, the Federal Emergency Management Agency fixed it at $6 billion to $10 billion.

"We're going to move now from being in an adrenaline period of high energy to the second phase, which is the realization that this is going to be a long sustained recovery period," Graham said.