PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - More than $4.4 million in state and federal assistance has been approved for New Hampshire following the severe storms and flooding that took place April 15 - 23, 2007.
To date, 1,639 households from the six disaster-designated counties (Belknap - 91; Grafton - 72; Hillsborough - 461; Merrimack - 215; Rockingham - 481; and Strafford - 319) have applied for disaster assistance since President Bush approved a federal disaster declaration on April 27.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $2.6 million under the Individuals and Households Program (Belknap - $83,935; Grafton - $24,322; Hillsborough - $449,544; Merrimack - $699,011; Rockingham - $994,322; and Strafford - $355,576). Financial assistance covers rental assistance, temporary lodging, and grants for home repairs not covered by insurance, as well as for eligible personal property loss, medical or dental costs and other significant disaster-related expenses.
Individuals may register for assistance at www.fema.gov/assistance or call toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the speech- or hearing-impaired. The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance or a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loan is June 26, 2007.
The SBA has approved low-interest disaster loans totaling more than $1.8 million for homeowners, business owners and renters. In addition to helping with uncompensated real estate damage or personal property loss, an SBA disaster loan may be used to relocate. The amount of the relocation loan depends on whether the applicant relocates voluntarily or involuntarily. Those interested in relocation, should call 1-800-659-2955; an SBA representative can provide more details on the specific situation.
Disaster Recovery Centers were open in 11 locations in the disaster affected areas and 686 people visited the centers to talk with representatives from FEMA, SBA, state agencies, and voluntary agencies. The Disaster Recovery Center in Laconia will be open until Sat., May 26, at the Laconia City Hall Parking Lot, 85 Beacon Street East, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., except 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., on Sat.
The disaster declaration also made available assistance for local governments, state agencies and certain private nonprofits performing government functions in all New Hampshire counties. FEMA's Public Assistance program provides funding reimbursement for eligible costs incurred for emergency response or damage to public infrastructure. Applicant briefings were held throughout the state to explain the assistance process. FEMA has received 181 requests for public assistance and has already held more than a dozen kickoff meetings with local officials.
A series of free Mitigation Outreach workshops are taking place at home improvement centers in several New Hampshire and Maine communities. These workshops provide information to residents on mitigation following recent flooding. FEMA disaster experts provide information on techniques for reducing flood damage, as well as information on applying for disaster assistance, to homeowners, building contractors, architects, and other interested individuals. More than 800 people have visited the workshops and 200 have received individual counseling. More information on ways to reduce damages from future disasters can be found at www.floodsmart.gov.
A Mitigation Outreach workshop will be open at Ben Franklin in Raymond (15 Freetown Road), Thurs., and Fri., May 24 and 25, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.