Aid officials bicker over hurricane relief effort

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The Independent Online
HOMESTEAD (AP, Reuter) - Hundreds of US marines built the first tent city for hurricane victims yesterday and the first two ships of a navy convoy arrived with heavy-duty relief equipment, a week after Hurricane Andrew left thousands homeless. While many remained without adequate food or shelter, state and federal officials bickered over who was in charge of rebuilding after.

President Bush said he would fly to Florida and Louisiana today to inspect the clean-up. It will be his second trip to both states since the hurricane struck. Mr Bush said that he would take his wife Barbara and Dick Cheney, the Defense Secretary, with him, flying first to Florida. 'We'll have a chance to talk to the top civilian and military and some of the volunteer leaders,' he said. 'And then we'll fly over to Louisiana.'

In Dade County, Florida, people queued for food stamps, for mail, and for cheques from insurance companies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Thousands of others fumed in traffic jams as businesses in Miami reopened, some for the first time since the storm.

Lawton Chiles, the Governor of Florida, yesterday toured the tent city in Homestead, 30 miles from Miami. He raised the estimate of ruined homes to 85,000. Estimates of the number of homeless people range from 180,000 to 250,000, while the death-toll stands at 35.

Confusion over who is in charge of the relief effort has led to spoilage of food and to relief clothing being dumped in the rubbish after lying in puddles.

In Homestead, 450 marines worked all night to erect the first tent city. Some tents will also be placed in small clusters in neighbourhoods where residents are reluctant to leave the ruins of their homes for fear of looters.

The Defense Department said that by last night south Florida would have 11,510 federal troops, 4,600 portable toilets, 15,500 radios, 34 portable kitchens, 638,600 ready-to-eat meals, 240,000 cans of insecticide and enough tents for 23,570 people.

LITTLE ROCK - Bill Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, opened the television advertising wars of the autumn race to the White House with a promise to create 8 million jobs. Republicans said this lacked 'truth in advertising', AP reports.

The Clinton commercial pushes his achievements as Governor of Arkansas and says his economic strategy would create the jobs in the first four years.