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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989 - September

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on Emergency Relief for the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico


The President today expressed concern and sympathy for the death and destruction wreaked on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean by Hurricane Hugo. The Federal Government stands ready to respond promptly and fully. A team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be in the air this morning bound for the Virgin Islands, accompanied by Lt. Gov. Derek Hodge, Delegate Ron de Lugo, and officials of the Department of the Interior. Their initial mission will be to assess the damage and assist in reestablishing communications throughout the islands, which appear to have been devastated by this tremendous storm. Another FEMA team stands ready to travel to Puerto Rico as soon as a landing site can be located, and a FEMA representative is expected to meet with government officials in Puerto Rico today.

We anticipate receiving formal requests for assistance from Gov. Alexander Farrelly of the Virgin Islands and Gov. Rafael Hernandez-Colon of Puerto Rico today and will review those requests immediately in an effort to expedite the appropriate Federal response. All necessary Federal resources will be quickly mobilized to help the people of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico recover from this disaster.

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