As NH towns rebuild from flooding, FEMA officials assess the damage
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, are in New Hampshire this week visiting towns that sustained damage during this summer’s floods.
One of four FEMA teams touring the state was in Antrim Tuesday, assessing washed-out roads, culverts and a bridge that’s no longer passable.
The town has been working to make repairs after they were pummeled with rain on July 4, and then again on July 10 and 16. Many roads have already been fixed. The town also rehabilitated a road that had been impassable for years to provide an alternate route for 20 residents who relied on the bridge that washed out.
But Antrim fire chief Marshall Gale said all of that work is taking a toll.
“It’s going to devastate the highway’s operating budget,” he said. “That’s all gone to mitigate all of this flooding.”
FEMA officials are assessing damage from flooding that happened across the state between June 17 and July 17.
Once the state tallies up $2.4 million of damage, it can request a major disaster declaration from the federal government, according to Vanessa Palange, a spokesperson for New Hampshire’s homeland security and emergency management agency.
That declaration could open up funding to help towns with repairs.
Katie Slonaker, with FEMA public assistance, said her team is looking to see what impacts damage will have on emergency situations. The questions they’re exploring include: “Does it cut off homeowner’s access to their town, to the city, to services that they need, to emergency services? Can they utilize roads for ambulances, fire trucks?”
The FEMA team also measured physical damage, looking at how large the sections of washed-out road were, and how deep the damage went down.
Officials visited five communities on Monday and were scheduled to see nine on Tuesday.