Congresswoman Requests Disaster Relief for Belknap, Coos, and Grafton Counties
New Hampshire—Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter sent a letter to President Bush today urging him to provide individual assistance to the victims of the recent weather disaster and asking him to also include Belknap, Coos, and Grafton Counties in the Disaster Declaration. Earlier this week, President Bush amended the FEMA Disaster Declaration for New Hampshire and included Strafford and Merrimack Counties. Although FEMA provides both public and individual assistance, the Declaration currently provides no individual assistance.
“The recent severe weather in New Hampshire has been devastating for both citizens and small businesses,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “After touring the damaged areas with the Governor, it is clear that individual relief assistance is necessary to ensure those most affected can fully recover. I urge the President to amend the August 11th Disaster Declaration to include individual assistance and to declare a disaster for Belknap, Coos, and Grafton Counties.”
A copy of the full letter is below:
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for revisiting the August 11, 2008 FEMA Disaster Declaration for New Hampshire (DR-NH-1782) and adding Merrimack and Strafford Counties to that declaration. However, I am still concerned that the amended FEMA Disaster Declaration will not adequately address the damage inflicted by that devastating storm on personal residences, properties and businesses. Without the individual assistance that FEMA is able to provide, some New Hampshire families may never fully recover. I would also like to express my strong support for Governor Lynch’s recent request for declaration of a major disaster for Belknap, Coos, and Grafton Counties. These counties received extensive damage resulting from strong storms that began with the severe weather on July 24 and continued through August 14.
As you know, the tornado, severe winds, and heavy rains, which hit New Hampshire on July 24, 2008, caused extensive damage to hundreds of homeowners. That damage was exacerbated by the weeks of heavy rain and flash floods that followed. I have met with several constituents with heart-rending stories who are in desperate need of help. I’ve included a letter I received from Lynette Cumberland, a resident of Ossipee, NH who details the losses they’ve incurred – the lumber for their new house; many of their trees, which are also a source of income; and the wood they would have used to heat their home this winter. Lynette’s family has been overwhelmed by these losses. Unfortunately, I have heard many sad stories and seen substantial devastation in the weeks since the tornado ripped across our state.
As stated above, I am very happy that all five counties have been included in the original disaster declaration and thank you for your continued review of the situation. However, I am still concerned that this declaration fails to adequately provide relief for those impacted by the New Hampshire disasters. Accordingly, I respectfully request that FEMA reevaluate and modify the August 11, 2008 disaster declaration to include individual assistance and that you expedite consideration of Governor Lynch’s latest request for a major disaster declaration for Belknap, Coos and Grafton Counties.
I appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to continuing to work with you to provide any available Federal assistance to the people of New Hampshire.
Member of Congress
The Honorable R. David Paulison
Office of the Director
500 C Street S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20472
Mr. Arthur Cleaves
Regional Director, FEMA, Region I
99 High Street
Boston, MA 02110-2132