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World
02 Sep 2017

Trump requests Congress to release $7.8bn funds for hurricane victims

How Hurricane Harvey may impact the US economy

President Donald Trump has requested Congress to release initial funds worth $7.8 billion to aid recovery efforts in Hurricane Harvey-hit states of Texas and Louisiana.

The hurricane, which made landfall last week, caused devastating floods killing at least 43 people and forcing 43,000 others to live in emergency shelters.

Texas may need over $125 billion in aid. The storm has had widespread economic repercussions.

In context

How Hurricane Harvey may impact the US economy

Devastation

Devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey

Flood waters are receding in Houston, Texas, America's fourth-largest city, which witnessed "unprecedented" rains from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston experienced "catastrophic" flooding, which left most parts of the city inundated.

An estimated 30,000-40,000 homes were destroyed in the Harris County area alone, where Houston lies.

Abbott said Houston's recovery would be a "multi-year project" and "a massive, massive clean-up process."

Oil and gas

America's energy industry hit, fuel prices rise

Hurricane Harvey has hit the heart of America's energy industry in the Gulf of Mexico, halting one-third of the country's oil and gas production.

Major oil pipelines which transport fuel to other areas, and oil drilling and refining platforms, have all been shut down.

This has led fuel prices to increase. Oil companies are still determining when operations can restart.

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Businesses and transport

Business suffer billions worth of losses, transportation network still down

Moody's estimates that businesses have suffered around $10 to $15 billion worth of losses, while separate infrastructure costs could rise $10 billion.

Houston's airports, which were flooded, and ports are expected to begin limited operations in the coming days.

However, roads transit routes, which remain submerged may take longer to recover.

Railroad BNSF said services may not resume for "an extended period."

Families

Families, homeowners worst hit by Hurricane Harvey

Families have suffered the most from Hurricane Harvey.

So far, over 350,000 hurricane victims have registered for federal government assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said.

At least 37,000 people have filed claims with the National Flood Insurance Program, a number which could increase to 500,000.

Worryingly, an estimated 80% Texans don't have flood insurance. "This could have significant long-term ramifications," Moody's wrote.

Estimates: US GDP may dip by up to 1% point

Wider impact

Estimates: US GDP may dip by up to 1% point

The Houston region accounts for over $500 billion worth of annual economic activity.

AccuWeather predicts a full one percentage point decrease from the US GDP over 12 months because of the storm's impact, which could prevent the Federal Reserve from hiking interest rates.

The US third quarter GDP could reduce by 0.3%-1.2% depending on recovery time, according to a forecast by Macroeconomic Advisers.

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