President Bush has approved New Hampshire’s request for a major disaster to be declared in the state as a result of recent flooding, heavy rain and wind.
New Hampshire Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu made the announcement late Friday afternoon.
“FEMA’s turnaround time here was quick,” Gregg said. “It’s ironic that we’ve had two 100-year floods within the space of less than a year. At least to some degree this will help mitigate the impact” of the damage, he said.
The declaration is effective for public and individual assistance in Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford counties.
Public assistance was approved for Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire and Sullivan counties. Those counties were still being evaluated for individual assistance.
Coos County was not included in the declaration; it wasn’t immediately known why.
Public assistance helps the state and communities cover emergency operations, debris removal and repair costs; individual assistance provides emergency assistance to people for such matters as temporary housing and some damage costs.
Low-cost loans also will be available through the Small Business Administration to help business owners get back on their feet.
“Preliminary damage assessments found nearly 1,000 homes were affected by the flooding, of which 24 homes were destroyed and 200 suffered major damage,” Gov. John Lynch said. “In may cases, the owners of these affected homes were just completing repairs from the flooding that occurred in last year’s Mother’s Day floods.”
More than 75,000 people were without power during the height of the storm and flooding at a switching station in Raymond cut off phone service. More than 400 state and local road segments were closed at one point, as well as about 20 state and local bridges.
Gregg and Sununu sent a letter with their request to the White House on April 20.
“Having spoken with homeowners and emergency responders across New Hampshire, it is clear that residents, businesses and municipalities will need a strong hand to recover,” said Sununu, who visited damaged areas in Hampton, Allenstown and Milford on April 20.
Residents and business owners who suffered losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance through FEMA by registering online at http://www.fema.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
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