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Former US presidents raising money for hurricane relief 

By: KEN THOMAS, Associated Press
September 8, 2017 Updated: September 8, 2017 at 11:53 am
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FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2009, file photo President-elect Barack Obama is welcomed by President George W. Bush for a meeting at the White House in Washington with former presidents, from left, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. More than half of Americans view President Barack Obama favorably as he leaves office, a new poll shows, but Americans remain deeply divided over his legacy. Less than half of Americans say they’re better off eight years after his election or that Obama brought the country together. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON — The five living former U.S. presidents said Thursday they would team up to create the "One America Appeal" to raise money for storm recovery as Texas and Louisiana seek to regroup from Harvey and Florida and the Atlantic coast brace for Hurricane Irma.

The hurricane recovery effort was announced by former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

Online donations can be made at OneAmericaAppeal.org.

The current president, Donald Trump, tweeted his support: "We will confront ANY challenge, no matter how strong the winds or high the water. I'm proud to stand with Presidents for #OneAmericaAppeal."

The hurricanes represent the latest philanthropic collaboration by living ex-U.S. presidents and their first joint effort since Trump's election. The elder Bush and Clinton raised money for victims of the devastating tsunami in Asia in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After Haiti's massive earthquake in 2010, Obama tapped Clinton and the younger Bush to lead a relief effort.

For the Bush family, Harvey struck close to home. George H.W. Bush lives part of the year in Houston while George W. Bush, a former Texas governor, lives in Dallas.

Organizers said a special restricted account had been established through the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation to collect and quickly distribute donations. Officials said "100 cents out of every dollar" donated will help hurricane victims. All donations are tax-deductible.

The effort was being launched with a public service announcement broadcast on NBC during the Thursday night kickoff of the NFL season.

Donations designated to help victims of Harvey will be distributed to the Houston Harvey Relief Fund and the Rebuild Texas Fund. The appeal is expected to be expanded to help those affected by Irma, which could strike south Florida and the state's Atlantic Coast and then move up into Georgia and South Carolina.

Harvey has caused widespread flooding in Houston and elsewhere and has been blamed for at least 71 deaths, while damaging more than 200,000 homes. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has suggested that Harvey's damages could cost up to $180 billion, even more than from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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Online: https://www.oneamericaappeal.org/

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This story has been corrected to show the dates for the Asia tsunami as 2004, not 2005, and Katrina as 2005, not 2006.

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