Disaster Declaration for Six NJ Counties: Menendez And Lautenberg Encouraged But Urge Declaration For Entire State

Disaster Declaration for Six NJ Counties: Menendez And Lautenberg Encouraged But Urge Declaration For Entire State

Senators pleased that individuals in certain hard hit areas can now begin receiving assistance to help recover from storm damage, continue to seek funding for affected areas throughout state

Washington - U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) were encouraged by today's signing of a federal disaster declaration for six New Jersey counties but also reiterated the need for a declaration for the rest of the state. Today's declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to better help individuals in Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Passaic, Somerset and Union Counties recover from rampant flooding and other damage caused by last week's Nor'easter that ravaged the state.

"This is a good and important step that should help thousands of our state's hardest hit residents, but I'm hoping it is only a first step," said Menendez. "Issuing a declaration for the entire state is the right move to make next, and I'm glad the Acting Governor has requested it. There are many across our state who badly need a lifebuoy. Thousands are still soaked and face a long recovery from the most rainfall here in more than a century. I have visited communities across the state, I have seen firsthand the wreckage caused by the damaging storm, and I know how badly the help is needed."

"The damage done to New Jersey by last week's storm was devastating," said Sen. Lautenberg. "FEMA's decision is a first step to aid state and local recovery efforts already underway. Families and businesses in the counties declared a disaster will begin to receive the support they need to help rebuild their communities. We have witnessed the damage up close, however, and are disappointed that the President excluded affected counties across New Jersey sorely in need of these emergency funds. I urge President Bush to expand this declaration and include the entire state."

The Senators, along with the New Jersey house delegation, sent letters to the President last week urging him to issue an official federal disaster declaration so that local governments would be eligible to receive federal grants to repair damage caused by storms. To see the letter sent on Monday, April 16, visit: http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=272453. To see the letter sent on Friday, April 20, visit: http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=272798&.

The flood, which left an estimated 3,000 evacuated from their homes and 40,000 people without power, was caused by the most rainfall in New Jersey since 1882. This week, Acting-Governor Richard Codey announced that New Jersey had suffered $180 million in damage to both public and private property.

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