New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch said flooding and high tides caused more than $36 million in damage last week, and he has asked the federal government to declare the entire state a disaster area so it will qualify for federal aid.
Lynch made the formal request as he accompanied the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, R. David Paulison, on a tour of flooded homes in Allenstown. Paulison also visited several towns in Maine.
“Many communities are reporting damage that exceeds their experience from the record floods of May 2006,” Lynch said. “Preliminary and partial damage assessments compiled by local communities and the state already exceed $36 million — well in excess of the threshold needed for public assistance.”
More than 400 roads were closed and 6,000 residents were evacuated at the height of the flooding last Monday and Tuesday. Electric utilities reported that 90,000 customers lost power, and residents of Raymond and surrounding towns lost telephone service. Many schools were closed for days.
Lynch declared a state of emergency. The state emergency operations center has been open around the clock since then. Road crews worked overtime on repairs, the New Hampshire National Guard assisted with evacuations and the state dam bureau checked on dam safety around the state.
Teams from FEMA began assessing damage in the state Thursday. Lynch is asking that FEMA provide assistance to government agencies and individual residents needing it in all 10 counties. He also asked for help from the Small Business Administration.
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