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N.Y. gets emergency federal funding for hurricane damage

Henry Rhines tries to salvage anything he can from the debris field that was once his home in Columbia, N.C., Aug. 30, 2011. AP/The News & Observer, Shawn Rocco.

U.S. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in New York on Wednesday, allowing federal money to flow to the state after Hurricane Irene. Federal aid has also been promised to North Carolina.

Specific amounts aren’t known but there is concern over the fact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has only $800 million left in disaster relief funds.

At least 45 people in 13 states were killed in the storm that first hit North Carolina on Saturday and cut a path of destruction up to New England. New Jersey and Vermont continue to deal with extensive flooding.

In Vermont, 11 towns remained cut off from the outside world Tuesday night, due to fallen trees and washed out bridges. Ground crews managed to reach all but one of the centres by Wednesday morning.

Several towns received supply drops and deliveries Wednesday, including blankets, food and water, from National Guard helicopters and trucks.

Damage in New York is pegged at about $1 billion and federal funding there will help provide grants for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans and other programs. Between 500 and 600 homes were destroyed by the storm in New York.

N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue said Irene destroyed more than 1,100 homes and caused $70 million US in damage.

Irene is estimated to have caused up to $7 billion in damage across the east coast.

In Quebec, the search continued Wednesday for a 68-year-old man whose car was swept off the road into the Yamaska River, northeast of Montreal, during a storm-triggered landslide.