Washington - The Federal Emergency Management Agency this evening announced that the disaster declaration following the major recent flooding in New Jersey has been expanded, though it still does not encompass the entire state. Yesterday, a declaration was signed for individuals in Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Passaic, Somerset and Union Counties, making federal assistance available as residents recover from rampant flooding and other damage caused by last week's Nor'easter that ravaged the state. Today, individuals in Hudson, Middlesex, and Morris Counties were added to the declaration, and public assistance was made available to Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Union Counties.

U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who together with the New Jersey House Delegation have urged President Bush to make a statewide disaster declaration (http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/3rdBushdisasterletter2007.pdf ), reacted to the news.

"This broader scope of assistance is much-needed, and it gets us closer to the goal of a statewide declaration," said Sen. Menendez. "I appreciate the swift decision to include additional counties and to advance public assistance. There remain areas of our state not yet covered by the declaration that were hit hard by the storm. I am working to ensure that FEMA understands this, and I am hopeful that these areas will be covered in the near future."

"This is welcome news for the households and businesses in the affected counties throughout New Jersey and will help so many as they begin to recover from last weeks devastating flooding," said Sen. Lautenberg. "While we are pleased that FEMA has responded to our call for help, there are residents in other counties still without the disaster assistance they so sorely need. We remain hopeful that FEMA will act on our request to expand this assistance, and I will continue to work to make sure the federal government is doing everything it can to help us rebuild."

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