CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – President Bush on Wednesday granted Gov. John Lynch’s request that Merrimack and Strafford counties be included in the major disaster declaration for damage caused by last month’s tornado.

This means that Merrimack and Strafford counties have been approved to receive public assistance.

The two counties had been left out of the original aid declaration, despite being included in the request Lynch. Last Friday, the governor asked Bush, through FEMA, to reconsider the decision.

Belknap, Carroll and Rockingham counties had already been declared eligible for public assistance.

FEMA offers two primary types of assistance. Public assistance helps the state and communities cover emergency operations, debris removal and repair costs. Individual assistance provides some emergency assistance to individuals, such as temporary housing, and will cover some – but not usually all – costs of the damage.

The president’s declaration does not include individual assistance. Lynch has notified federal officials of the state’s intent to seek reconsideration of the decision not to include assistance for individuals impacted by the tornado.

In addition, the state has begun the process of seeking federal assistance for damage caused by recent flooding. FEMA assessment teams conducted inspections of impacted areas last week.

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