The administration of US
President Donald Trump
has asked Congress for nearly $8 billion dollars for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts as Trump prepares to travel to the US Gulf Coast for a second time to meet victims of one of the worst natural disasters in US history.
The formal request for $7.85 billion came Friday in a letter from White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to US House of Representative Speaker Paul Ryan.
The initial amount requested for Harvey relief was higher than the $5.95 billion figure Trump administration officials proposed earlier in the day.
The bulk of the initial request will go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is rapidly running out of funds as the primary agency handling disaster relief.
The Trump administration is expected to make subsequent funding requests to help in the multi-billion dollar rebuilding effort that will need to take place in Texas and Louisiana.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said that his state may need more than $125 billion.
Trump travels to Texas and Louisiana on Saturday to meet victims of the catastrophic storm.
The economic cost from Harvey for southeastern Texas has been estimated at $51 billion to $75 billion, ranking it among the costliest storms in US history.
Federal and state officials have warned that rebuilding would take years.
The storm made landfall August 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in over five decades. It has since been downgraded to a tropical depression as it heads to the Texas inland and parts of neighboring Louisiana.
Rescue crews save residents in Port Arthur, Texas on September 1, 2017. (AFP photo)
The storm has displaced more than 1 million people on the US Gulf Coast, with 50 feared dead.
Some 779,000 Texans have been told to leave their homes and another 980,000 fled voluntarily amid dangers of new flooding from swollen rivers and reservoirs.
The health risks from pollutants in floodwater and loss of water were among hazards emerging in the aftermath of Harvey.
The storm, which lingered around for days, has left devastation across more than 300 miles (480 km) in the state of Texas.
In Houston, the US energy hub and the nation’s fourth largest city, firefighters are conducting a house-by-house search to rescue stranded survivors and recover bodies.
Harvey came on the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in 2005 in southeast Louisiana and killed 1,800 people.