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RALEIGH — Six North Carolina counties hit hard by torrential rains and flooding have received a federal disaster declaration.

Gov. Beverly Perdue announced Thursday that people in Beaufort, Bertie, Craven, Hertford, Onslow and Tyrrell counties will be eligible for low-interest loans or grants.

Homeowners can get up to $240,000 in low-interest loans to replace their homes and some belongings. Renters can qualify for up to $40,000.

Anyone who doesn’t qualify for a loan may be eligible for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

State emergency officials say more than 420 homes and 60 businesses in the six counties were damaged or completely destroyed.

Total statewide damage estimates are still being compiled.

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