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Remarks by HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Thursday, June 3, 1999

Thank you very much. It's truly my pleasure to be back. As you heard we were here just within days after the terrible tragedy of Hurricane George first hit at the direction of President Clinton. At that time we were with a Congressional delegation.

We since have had several meetings in Washington, DC planning the disaster relief, how we could best help, and it's my pleasure to be back today with another positive announcement.

I had a very nice and cordial meeting with Vice President Fernandez. I congratulated him on the good work that the government has done in repairing the damage to the country.

It's obvious how much progress has been made so quickly, and we also had the chance to speak about a common experience that we are both the father of twins, which is a unique experience and we chatted about that also.

I brought President Clinton's greetings and expressed his sense that the United States and the Dominican Republic are partners in the truest since of the word.

The Dominican Republic is the largest Caribbean economy, it's the second largest Caribbean nation in land mass and population. It's very important to the United States in terms of numbers of businesses that are located here, the number of United States residents here, as well as the number of Dominicans in the United States -- especially, and I can tell you that, especially as a New Yorker how important the Dominicans are to our society.

The United States has done much to work with the Dominican Republic in this time of need and trouble. In total, approximately $55 million has already been spent by the United States in the areas of school reconstruction, food, transitional housing, and water and sanitation projects.

It was also my pleasure to officially notify the Vice President that the United States has made an additional $29 million available to the Dominican Republic from a recent Congressional act. Those funds will go, approximately $8 million dollars for housing, $8 million for economic development, $7.5 million for health, and $5 million for environment and disaster mitigation.

I also informed the Vice President that my Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development which does housing and economic development was also awarded an additional $10 million dollars and I look forward personally to working with the Dominican Republic in repairing the damage.

And lastly I mentioned to the Vice President that we have a saying in English, "Every cloud has a silver lining."

And I think that metaphor works for Hurricane George. We are doing many things that needed to be done anyway and forming partnerships that should have been formed anyway.

So from this tragedy a good thing has come about.

Muchas gracias.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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