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President Bush Declares V.I. Disaster Area

Oct. 7, 2004 – President George W. Bush declared the Virgin Islands a "major disaster" area Thursday after Tropical Storm Jeanne washed away important infrastructure in September.
The declaration allows the V.I. government and some non-profit organizations access to federal funding to repair and replace roads, sewer systems and power lines damaged when the storm passed to the south of the islands last month, according to a White House press release.
Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards had requested the federal assistance to repair the estimated $6.3 million in damage caused by the storm. (See "Richards Requests Federal Disaster Declaration").
Richards estimated in that request more than $3.8 million in damages to St. Croix, most of which – $3.4 million – was to utilities. St. Thomas showed a total of more than $2.4 million, $1.9 million of which was to utilities. St. John's estimates came in at $70,195, the bulk of which, nearly $44,000, was for damages to roads and bridges.
Jeanne dumped nearly a foot of rainwater in some areas of the territory, damaging roads, buildings and power lines. Several cruise ships canceled visits, and airports in St. Croix and St. Thomas closed. St. Croix was without power for three days. Storm water rushed into sewage systems and overflowed onto beaches.

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