Ike runs up Texas-size tab of up to $52B

Sept. 24, 2008 at 10:32 AM

HOUSTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Hurricane Ike caused between $27 billion and $52 billion in damages in Texas, government officials and insurers estimated.

The estimates combine the value of losses expected to be submitted to federal officials or private insurance companies, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Houston Mayor Bill White told the newspaper the estimate was a range of potential costs. He joined Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas and Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in Washington Tuesday to testify before a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on disaster recovery.

White said he wouldn't be surprised if the Federal Emergency Management Agency's damage estimate "weren't in the $20 billion to $40 billion range."

Insurance estimates compiled by the Insurance Information Institute of New York predict privately insured losses would range from $7 billion to $12 billion. The tally of private insurance losses, coupled with White's estimates, provides the range of all losses of $27 billion to $52 billion.

Some federal aid may be flowing to Texas soon, the Chronicle said. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., on Tuesday revealed a spending bill that would include between $23 billion and $24 billion for natural disaster relief. The House is expected to vote on the measure soon.

Officials blame Hurricane Ike and its storm surge for at least 61 deaths, including 26 in Texas, the Chronicle said.

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