US Congress allots more hurricane, wildfire relief aid.


WASHINGTON, United States (AFP ) — The US Congress has set aside additional aid of US$81 billion to help states ravaged by hurricanes or wildfires, in a bill that could be adopted this week.

This comes on top of emergency packages of US$15.3 billion and US$36.5 billion in September and October, bringing the total to US$133 billion.

The new package goes far beyond the US$44 billion that the White House had asked for, and could be adopted by the end of the week as lawmakers vote on budgetary issues.

Texas, Florida, California, Louisiana and the US Caribbean territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will be the main beneficiaries of the assistance.

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana in late August. Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida on September 10 after striking the Virgin Islands. Then Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico on September 20.

California has been grappling with intense wildfires since October and one of them, known as Thomas and still burning, is one of the worst in the state’s history.