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September 05, 2017

*-- Trump to ask for $5.9B in Harvey relief aid; Texas begins cleanup --*

10dollarsPresident Donald Trump's administration plans to ask Congress for nearly $6 billion in relief aid for damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

The White House is seeking Congressional approval of a $5.95 billion aid package, a senior official told Axios. The Federal emergency Management Agency would receive $5.5 billion, with the rest going to the Small Business Administration for disaster relief efforts.

The amount would be adequate to support recovery efforts though the end of 2017.

Trump's request for aid may come Friday.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Houston said his flooded city is now mostly dry, as attention turns to recovery efforts.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said only two Houston neighborhoods, Kingwood and West Houston, are still dealing with flooding issues, a week after Hurricane Harvey arrived.

Turner added that the number of those in public shelters is declining. Those housed in the Toyota Center, Houston's NBA arena, will be transferred to the city's smaller convention center by the end of Friday.

"The Astros are playing baseball. The city of Houston is open for business," Turner told ABC News.

Data indicate that the hurricane broke a rainfall record for a single storm in the continental United States. Cedar Bayou, a town 30 miles east of Houston, saw 52 inches of rain, a preliminary report by the National Weather Service said.

Houston's two major airports reopened, with limited flights in and out of the city -- and the zoo will be open Friday as east Texas attempts to assess the damage and return to normal.

All 200 schools and facilities of the Houston Independent School District have been inspected and are expected to be ready for the postponed start of the school semester on Sept. 11, Superintendent Richard Carranza said.

The ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston and Freeport reopened, with some restrictions on vessels sizes and traffic, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston announced.

The Houston Fire Department reported that of 800 service calls it received on Thursday, only 22 were Harvey-related. Since the start of the hurricane, the department received about 7,600 water-related calls, a spokesman said.

At least 40 deaths have been attributed to the hurricane and flooding, and the Houston Police Department said it has made 69 arrests -- including several for suspected looting.
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Professional cleanup crews are arriving in the city, ready to tackle an immense logistical challenge.

ServPro, a national company providing fire and water cleanup and restoration services, announced that over 8,000 of its workers will arrive in Houston from across the United States. Puroclean, a competitor, said it purchased 100 recreational vehicles and will house its temporary workers in a Houston-area RV park. At least 136,000 buildings in Harris County, which houses Houston, are in need of cleanup.

Hurricane Harvey left Houston but made landfall again on Wednesday near Cameron, La. It weakened to a tropical depression and is currently regarded as a low-pressure system as it brings heavy rain to the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys.

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