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Terror Attacks Impact NY Tourism Industry


New York and federal government officials are working to get the city, the capital of U.S. finance, back on its feet. But the effort is hampered by technological difficulties, businesses destroyed during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and losses in the tourism industry.

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani calls the help offered to the city by New York State and the federal government "miraculous."

"It is absolutely astounding, the amount of federal help that we are getting," the mayor said. "The same thing is true with the state. Governor Pataki and President Bush, there is nothing that we have asked for that they have not given us and they have anticipated and given us a lot of things that we have not even thought of."

With more than 5,000 people missing in the tragedy, New Yorkers are eager for miracles. But the Mayor and other officials have begun cautioning New Yorkers to prepare for the possibility that few people will be found alive.

Within days of the attack, President George W. Bush approved $40 billion in help. Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, are in New York with teams of search and rescue workers, mobile communications networks, and medical and structural engineering teams.

FEMA official Ted Monette estimates it will now take as long as six months to clean up the massive amount of smouldering rubble that is the ruins of the World Trade Center.

"I talked to you yesterday and mentioned something like 600,000 tons of debris," he said. "That estimate has been upped to about 1.2 million tons of debris."

FEMA has announced federal assistance programs for victims and their families which will cover medical, mental health and funeral expenses as well as lost wages.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is making available loans to assist small businesses as are city and state groups.

For the first time in several years, it is not difficult to find a hotel room in New York or get tickets to a top Broadway show. Mayor Giuliani says the city is making a big effort to help tourist-related businesses.

"We are specifically going to reach out to restaurants and Broadway plays to see if they need some transitional help because we may be going through a period, we probably are, when even people who are not afraid and certainly willing to do different things might just not feel like going to a Broadway play or a restaurant," Mr. Giuliani said. "We want to make sure that they get through this period of time."

Theater producers say Broadway has lost more than $3 million in the week since the terror attack and several shows have announced closings.