CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Gov. John Lynch said he plans to seek federal aid to help repair about $10 million in damage from this month’s flooding in central and northern New Hampshire.

He also plans to ask the Bush administration to reconsider providing aid to Merrimack and Strafford counties and individuals whose homes were destroyed or damaged by last month’s tornado.

“In some cases these people lost their homes, everything they owned, including their memories,” said Lynch of the tornado damage.

At a news conference on Friday, Lynch said the state estimates the damage at about $20 million.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials say they believe Coos, Belknap and Grafton counties, damaged by floods, will meet requirements to receive federal aid.

A 7-year-old Rhode Island girl was killed by a flash flood in an Ashland campground last week. Flooding also damaged the popular tourist boardwalk and a stretch of railroad in Weirs Beach.

State officials said the railroad could cost up to a million dollars to repair and the state could spend up to another $1.5 million on road repairs.

This week, President Bush said three of the five counties the tornado tore through on July 24 would be declared a disaster area. But only public property in Belknap, Carroll and Rockingham counties was included. Homes and private woodlots would not be covered.

“I am asking FEMA to include Merrimack County and Strafford County in the disaster declaration based on the concentration of damage in those communities,” said Lynch, emphasizing that communities in those counties, such as Epsom, Pittsfield and New Durham, were hit hard by the tornado.

The governor said although about 130 homes were damaged, many were insured or were second homes, so individual federal assistance was denied.

Sens. John Sununu and Judd Gregg and Reps. Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter have also urged the Administration to expand the disaster declaration and include individual assistance to families.

Deerfield resident Brenda Stevens was killed after the tornado leveled her home.

AP-ES-08-15-08 1216EDT


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