Governor Formally Asks President Bush For Major Disaster Declaration

From The Office of Governor John Lynch

More than 5,000 Homes Damaged in Floods;

FEMA Completes Preliminary Damage Assessment for Individual Assistance; Begins Damage Assessment for Assistance to Communities

CONCORD - With the Federal Emergency Management Agency completing its preliminary damage assessment for individual assistance this morning, Gov. John Lynch today formally requested that President Bush declare that New Hampshire suffered a major disaster during the rains and flooding last week.

"The preliminary damage assessment found that the homes of more than 5,000 New Hampshire families were damaged during the floods, and 25 homes were destroyed, " Gov. Lynch said. " I am asking President Bush to issue a disaster declaration as soon as possible so our families can get federal assistance as they begin to rebuild their homes and lives."

Gov. Lynch requested the disaster declaration for individual assistance for six counties Belknap, Carroll, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford. As damage assessments continue, New Hampshire may seek to add additional counties to the disaster declaration.

FEMA offers two primary types of assistance, public assistance - which helps the state and 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 had to complete the preliminary damage assessment before the President will issue a major disaster declaration. FEMA teams, working with state officials, completed the preliminary damage assessment for individual assistance (damage to homes) this morning. The teams will now begin the assessment for public, or community, assistance.

Once the preliminary damage assessment for public assistance is completed, Gov. Lynch will ask the President to amend the disaster declaration to include public assistance.

The preliminary damage assessment found more than 5,000 homes affected by the flooding, of which 25 homes were declared destroyed and 235 suffered major damage. In addition, the Small Business Administration conducted preliminary damage assessments in the counties of Belknap, Carroll, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford. There were 94 businesses reporting damages, with 60 of these businesses reporting damages in excess of $3.2 million. SBA is continuing its assessment and will make a determination as to eligibility.

Preliminary assessments of local and state infrastructure have found at least $14 million in damage, an estimate that is likely to increase. During the course of the flooding more than 600 state and local road segments were closed, three dams were breached, there were controlled breaches of four dams, and two dams failed.

As a result of the flooding, 238 schools and day care facilities were closed for some part of last week.

"We are moving forward today with the request for a disaster declaration for individual assistance so that our families can get the help they need as soon as possible, " Gov. Lynch said. " We will continue working closely with New Hampshire communities and FEMA to complete the preliminary damage assessment for public assistance as quickly as possible."

Letter to the President