Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Salem N.H. Floods

In this story from today’s Boston Globe the folks in Salem are still struggling from the recent floods there, while we appear to be past them, and the particulars of the federal fllod program in the story are of some interest to the prudent, even in this sunny spring weather.

Here are excerpts.

N.H. residents pay in towns that aren't in federal flood program
By Brian Johnson, The Eagle-Tribune May 30, 2006

SALEM, N.H. --For the five decades that Robert Castricone has called Haigh Avenue home, he never once thought about purchasing flood insurance, despite the fact that his home sits on the edge of the Spicket River.

"I never had a drop of water in the house," he said.

However, after 49 years of dodging the high waters that come every few years, the 78-year-old's luck ran out last week when the Spicket River flowed into his basement, filling it with more than 3 feet of water.

…Fortunately for Castricone, last week the state was granted a disaster declaration for homeowners in several counties. It's a move that will bring some financial relief to Castricone as he looks to recoup from the historic floods. He will be eligible for an immediate $5,400 grant from FEMA to help make his home habitable again, according to Kevin Merli, the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Division service director for FEMA's Boston office.

However, for people in about 35 communities in New Hampshire, there will likely be no financial relief from the federal agency because their towns do not participate in the National Flood Program.

The National Flood Program is a federal program that gives homeowners the ability to purchase flood insurance. In exchange, the communities must create a series of flood plain ordinances and management agreements to reduce the number of new developments within flood plains. The agency developed the program in the late 1960s after private insurers deemed that providing private flood insurance would be cost prohibitive.

Under federal guidelines, people who own homes in designated flood plains are required by lenders to purchase flood insurance when they buy a home. Flood damage and damage from ground water are not covered under homeowners insurance policies.