Obama Signs Disaster Declarations

Washington — President Obama has signed disaster declarations for both New Hampshire and Vermont in response to severe storms, flooding and landslides during late June and early July.

With the declaration, federal funding will be available to state and eligible local governments.

In New Hampshire, the aid will go to emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged in the counties of Cheshire, Grafton and Sullivan during severe storms from June 26 to July 3. Heavy rain caused flash flooding and washed out roads throughout the western part of the state. Preliminary damage assessment conducted by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicated that the total damage exceeds $6.2 million.

In Vermont, the aid will go to the counties of Caledonia, Chittenden, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington and Windsor for damage caused during severe storms from June 25 to July 11. A presidential disaster declaration already had been issued for flooding in Chittenden, Washington and Essex counties between May 22-26.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said the state has been pounded by storms, high winds and flooding, and federal aid is critical to communities rebuilding and to lessen the impact of future storms.

The declaration allows communities to receive at least 75 percent federal reimbursement for repairs to public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that was damaged during the storm, Shumlin said in a statement Saturday.

“I appreciate the help from President Obama, and the hard work of our federal congressional delegation, to ensure Vermont communities get the assistance they need to recover from these storms and flooding,” Shumlin said.

The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will hold kickoff meetings in the seven counties to help communities start the application process. The dates and locations of those meetings will be announced later.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan welcomed the declaration.

“Communities throughout western New Hampshire experienced significant and widespread damage from the recent severe storm and flooding, and with this major disaster declaration, they will now be able to access critical federal dollars to aid in their recovery,” Hassan said in a statement.

“I thank President Obama for his quick response to my request for assistance, as well as Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte and Congresswomen Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter for their support of this action to provide needed relief to our local communities.”