Storm Harvey: Trump asks for $7.8bn flood recovery down-payment

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The US president will today return to Texas (Source: Getty)

US President Donald Trump has requested Congress releases $7.8bn of funds as an initial payment to help deal with the fall out of Storm Harvey.

With large parts of Texas and Louisiana still under water, the officials said this would be the first in a number of requests to aid recovery efforts.

Trump is set to make his second visit to Texas, a week after the hurricane made landfall.

The US government is subject to a cap – or debt ceiling – on how much it can borrow. This can be altered with the consent of Congress.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has written to the House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan to warn him that recovery efforts may be hit if the US debt ceiling is not lifted.

Texas governor Greg Abbott has said the state may need more than $125bn in bailouts.

Read more: Hurricane Harvey will cost more than Sandy and Katrina

Yesterday, experts estimated the total cost of Harvey could top $190bn – more than storms Katrina and Sandy put together.

Government-backed insurance programmes, such as the National Flood Insurance Programme (NFIP) – similar to Flood Re in the UK – will likely pick up the majority of the bill.

But it is understood that around 80 per cent of Texans do not have sufficient flood insurance to cover the damage.

Meanwhile, commercial insurance for damage and business interruption will fall on the wider insurance sector. Catastrophe experts yesterday said insurers are facing a $15.4bn bill – much of this is likely to have been written by Lloyd's of London insurers, though they would also have offloaded much of the risk to larger reinsurers.

Read more: Leading hurricane boffins put a figure on Harvey's cost to insurers