Five Massachusetts counties that experienced severe flooding early this month have been declared major disaster areas, making residents and businesses eligible for federal aid.
President Bush declared that emergencies existed April 1 in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Worcester counties, where up to seven inches of rain made streets nearly impassable, closed schools, and forced firefighters to use rafts to rescue stranded motorists.
The emergency status allows communities to receive grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said residents and business owners who sustained losses in the five counties can begin applying for aid by calling 1-800-621-3362.
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