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Senate panel boosts disaster aid

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats unveiled legislation Tuesday providing $6 billion in new disaster aid to help both victims of Hurricane Irene and past disasters dating to Hurricane Katrina.

A Senate Appropriations panel responsible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s budget approved the measure by voice vote.

At the same time, the measure’s author said that with FEMA’s disaster aid coffers running dangerously low, it may be necessary to add additional, more immediate disaster aid to a stopgap funding bill that’s expected to be enacted before the FEMA measure.

The $6 billion in disaster relief is for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 and is $4.2 billion above President Barack Obama’s February request, which has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for being too little to help states rebuild from past disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the massive Tennessee floods of last spring, as well as for Joplin, Mo., and the Alabama towns devastated by tornadoes last spring.


 

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UN says over 25,000 people fled Yemen fighting at Hodeida

UPDATED: 12:34 p.m.

updated  The U.N. spokesman said on Monday that tens of thousands of residents have fled the fighting along Yemen’s western coastline where Yemeni fighters backed by a Saudi-led coalition are engaged in fierce battles with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.