UPDATE: Governor Asks For Swift Federal Disaster Declarations For 7 Counties

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Gov. Beverly Perdue says preliminary estimates of damages caused by Hurricane Irene to residents and businesses should be ready by the end of the week.

Perdue said Monday evening she's seeking a swift federal disaster declaration for seven coastal counties so people there can qualify for individual grants and loans from the federal government.

The governor said following a second day of touring areas damaged by the storm she's particularly concerned about agriculture damage and for citizens who lost everything to flooding. Perdue visited a Pamlico County family whose home had been flooded, their belongings laid out in the yard to dry.

Perdue said officials are keeping an eye on inland flooding on the Tar River and the Northeast Cape Fear River at Burgaw.

The federal government has more than doubled the number of North Carolina counties eligible for federal financial assistance to help state and local governments protect the public and property following Hurricane Irene.

Gov. Beverly Perdue's office said President Obama expanded Sunday to 34 eastern counties his federal disaster declaration for North Carolina.

He had issued a declaration for 16 eastern counties Thursday before the storm arrived. The additional counties are Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Chowan, Columbus, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Hertford, Lenoir, Martin, New Hanover, Pasquotank, Pender, Washington and Wayne.

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue is asking for a federal disaster declaration for other counties that suffered severe damage.

Perdue is asking for assistance Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrrell counties.

She says more counties may be added as emergency management teams continue to assess damage across the eastern third of North Carolina.

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