Fla. delegation seeks more Katrina aid
By wire services
Published September 13, 2005
Florida's 25-member U.S. House delegation filed a bill Monday that would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide individual assistance to Floridians who suffered damage from Hurricane Katrina. FEMA refused individual assistance to Floridians after local, state and federal inspectors decided damage in South Florida wasn't extensive enough. The state is appealing the decision. Katrina was a Category 1 hurricane when it hit South Florida on Aug. 25. More than 350 homes were damaged or destroyed in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
State and local officials report 515 deaths so far linked to Hurricane Katrina, 279 of them in Louisiana where searchers recovered more than 40 bodies from a flooded-out New Orleans hospital.
The Army Corps of Engineers says downtown New Orleans should be dry by Oct. 2, and eastern parts of the city and St. Bernard Parish by Oct. 8.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings says the hurricane displaced more than 247,000 public and private school students in Louisiana and more than 125,000 in Mississippi.
Washington lawmakers propose tax changes to help victims, such as letting them tap retirement accounts without penalty and encouraging donations of cash, food and books.
The Coast Guard reopens the Mississippi River to 24-hour shipping, except in the 20 miles nearest its mouth. There, ships can still move only during daylight because of loss of navigation aids.
System downgraded to tropical storm
Ophelia dropped slightly in strength as it moved northwest at 4 mph off the Carolina coast Monday. By midday the storm had weakened to about 70 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. At 8 p.m. EDT, Ophelia was centered near latitude 31.9 N, longitude 77.6 W, about 160 miles east-southeast of Charleston, S.C. Though landfall is days off, nonresidents were ordered to leave one of North Carolina's Outer Banks islands, and school systems in five counties closed.