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White House Estimates Hurricane Irene Costs to Top $1B

FEMA photo: Jocelyn Augustino

An estimated $1.5 billion in disaster relief will be needed through fiscal year 2012 to help families and communities affected by Hurricane Irene, the White House’s top budget adviser said Monday.

Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, released the White House’s estimate in a blog post Monday.

The $1.5 billion estimate will cover damages not already covered under private insurance, Lew said.

“If additional funds are needed to get us through the closing days of this fiscal year, we will make sure that whatever resources are needed are provided,” Lew said.

Irene would be the tenth natural disaster suffered this year to cost at least $1 billion, setting a new record for most billion-dollar disasters in a single year. The previous record was set in 2008, with nine natural disasters.

Lew said Thursday that, prior to Irene, an estimated $5.2 billion was allocated for disaster relief in fiscal year 2012.

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