Governor Meets with FEMA Team As Agency Begins Preliminary Damage Assessment in New Hampshire

From The Office of Governor John Lynch

CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch met this morning with teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who are in New Hampshire to begin a preliminary assessment of the damage from this week's floods. The Agency must complete the assessment before the President declares a major disaster, which would make New Hampshire citizens and communities eligible for assistance.

Citizens who need immediate help should contact the state's flood hotline at 1-800-458-2407.

"From the immense damage I have seen firsthand in communities around the state, I believe that New Hampshire should qualify for FEMA assistance. This morning, I urged the FEMA teams to move as quickly as possible so that the President can formally issue a disaster declaration, and New Hampshire communities and individuals can become eligible for assistance," Gov. Lynch said.

FEMA offers two primary types of assistance, public assistance - which helps communities cover emergency operations and repair costs; and individual assistance - which provides some emergency assistance to individuals, such as for temporary housing, and will cover some - but not usually all - costs of the damage.

FEMA teams will begin by assessing whether citizens of various counties will qualify for individual assistance. FEMA expects to begin its preliminary damage assessment of communities early next week. The FEMA teams will conduct an overview of the damage to assess whether the amount of damage in individual counties meets the threshold for federal assistance. FEMA is not expected to visit every community or every home during this assessment.

"At this point, FEMA is just looking to see that counties meet the threshold. When they see that a county has enough damage to qualify for FEMA assistance, the team will move on. Once the President issues a major disaster declaration, FEMA will come back and do more an in-depth review of the damage," Gov. Lynch said.

Once the President issues a major disaster declaration, FEMA will establish a 1-800 number for individuals to apply for assistance.

Gov. Lynch said that state officials will hold a conference call with local officials on Tuesday to explain the FEMA process. The call is being organized in conjunction with the Local Government Center.

A fact sheet on assistance follows.

Recovery Information for Communities, Individuals, Businesses

If you are in need of immediate assistance Call the State's Flood Hotline At 1-800-458-2407

Recovery Information for Individuals

* FEMA today began its preliminary damage assessment to determine the state's eligibility for individual assistance. That assessment will continue through the weekend.
* FEMA will not visit every home during this preliminary damage assessment - they are focused on assessing the general extent of damage and flood impact.
* Early next week, this information will be sent to the President, who will then determine whether to grant individual assistance.
* If individual assistance is granted, FEMA will set up a 1-800 number for individual claims and open offices in the state.
* Flood victims should collect as much information as possible on the losses they have suffered, including repair bills, estimates from contractors, pictures or video.

If the President Grants Individual Assistance, New Hampshire residents may be eligible for some:

* Housing Assistance - aid for lodging expenses, rental assistance mobile homes.
* Repairs to homes.
* Replacement of housing - grants toward part of the cost of a new home.
* Depending on income level, residents may be eligible for assistance with expenses for replacement of personal property, transportation, moving and storage.
* Low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration.
* The objective of FEMA assistance programs is to help get disaster victims back on their feet, not to fully restore them to their pre-disaster condition.
* Additional aid made be available from personal insurance, the National Flood Insurance Program, the American Red Cross or other voluntary disaster relief organizations, or other sources.

Recovery Information for Businesses

* Businesses that suffered damage in the floods may be eligible for low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration.
* New Hampshire's Division of Economic Development is offering technical assistance to businesses impacted by the flooding.
* Businesses that suffered flood damage should contact the Department of Resources and Economic Development at 1-800-417-4110.

Recovery Information for Communities

* The FEMA program that assists communities with rebuilding local roads and public buildings is called the Public Assistance program.
* FEMA is expected to begin its preliminary damage assessment for Public Assistance eligibility early next week.
* FEMA is expected to complete its assessment within a week, after which time the information will be sent on to the President.
* State officials will hold an informational conference call for local officials on Tuesday, May 23, to explain the FEMA process. Please contact the Local Government Center for information.