Governor John Lynch today requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency begin a preliminary damage assessment in order to determine New Hampshire's eligibility for public, individual and small business assistance in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
Governor Lynch today viewed the damage in Bartlett, Hart's Location, Lincoln and Plymouth. Other areas of the state, including West Lebanon and Holderness, have also experienced flooding damage.
"There is significant damage to roads and bridges. We are going to work as quickly as possible to repair and re-open state roads and bridges, and to provide assistance to local communities where possible," Governor Lynch.
In addition to road and bridge damage, individual citizens have also experienced significant damage to their homes and businesses.
"It is important that FEMA assessment teams begin work as soon as possible to determine New Hampshire's eligibility for federal disaster relief," Governor Lynch said.
FEMA must conduct a preliminary damage assessment to ensure that federal damage guidelines are met before federal assistance is granted to the state. The state as a whole must meet federal thresholds in order to qualify for assistance. Individual counties, as well, must meet certain damage thresholds in order for communities in the county to qualify for assistance.
At Governor Lynch's request, FEMA pre-positioned a team in New Hampshire before the storm in expectation of the widespread damage. Public assistance offered through FEMA helps the state and communities cover emergency operations, debris removal and repair costs. Assistance will cover some, but not usually all costs of the damage.
A copy of Governor Lynch's letter to FEMA below.
August 29, 2011
Don Boyce, Regional Administrator
FEMA, Region 1
99 High Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
Re: Request for Preliminary Damage Assessment For Hurricane Irene
Dear Mr. Boyce:
I am writing to request the Federal Emergency Management Agency conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment in all ten counties in New Hampshire (Coos, Grafton, Carroll, Sullivan, Cheshire, Belknap, Merrimack, Hillsborough, Rockingham and Stafford) in connection with the effects of Hurricane Irene beginning on August 27, 2011 and continuing. This request is for an assessment of damage to determine the State's need for Public Assistance, Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation. The State has a standard state mitigation plan that was approved by FEMA on October 2010. There are over 200 FEMA approved local mitigation plans in the state. I request that FEMA begin the preliminary damage assessment process at the earliest possible time.
Hurricane Irene began affecting New Hampshire on August 27, 2011 and has resulted in extensive flooding, widespread power outages, and wind damage impacting communities statewide. The National Weather Service has reported heavy rainfall of between 5 and 7 inches in certain areas during this period. Many state and local roads have been impacted or were badly damaged; residential and municipal properties were flooded; and wind damage caused electrical power outages statewide for 175,000 customers.
Your assistance is requested for the purpose of determining the impact of the disaster. At this time, reports from state and local officials indicate extensive damage due to flooding and other storm-related damages resulting in a need for Federal assistance. If the losses are confirmed and meet the applicable damage thresholds, I intend to consider a request for a Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster for the impacted area.
Please contact Michael Poirier, State Coordinating Officer, at 603-223-3639, if additional information is needed.
John H. Lynch