PATERSON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today commended President Obama for declaring federal disaster assistance in Bergen County as a result of damages sustained by Hurricane Sandy. The northern New Jersey county was not included in the major disaster declaration for the State of New Jersey issued by the President earlier in the week because damage assessments were still ongoing.
"I thank President Obama for amending his original federal disaster declaration as a result of Superstorm Sandy to now include Bergen County," said Rep. Pascrell, who submitted a letter of support to President Obama requesting federal assistance in Bergen County. "Bergen County was one of the hardest hit regions in northern New Jersey, with many victims still without power or access to their homes due to extraordinary flooding in the region. We need the full resources of local, county, state and the federal government to assist the victims of this unprecedented storm to help them rebuild their lives, and I will continue to fight for federal assistance in Passaic County and other areas affected by this devastation."
The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas. Specifically, FEMA is authorized to provide emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding.
A copy of the letter from Rep. Pascrell is below:
October 30, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
I am writing to request that you extend an Emergency Declaration for Individual and Public Assistance to Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey, to assist in the recovery from the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy on October 29th, 2012.
I appreciate your quick approval of New Jersey’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration. However, I am extremely concerned that Bergen and Passaic Counties were not included in the initial emergency declaration. I understand that a review of the damage in these counties is ongoing, and that they may be added to the emergency declaration. I ask that you extend assistance to Bergen and Passaic counties as soon as possible.
There are reports of over 150,000 people without power in Bergen and Passaic counties. The storm also caused massive flooding that caused a levee break on the Hackensack River, forcing the evacuation of residents in Moonachie. There are reports of extensive flooding in Lyndhurst, Little Ferry, Carlstadt, and towns along the Passaic River as well.
As a result of the heavy rain and high winds, it is possible that thousands of residents in Bergen and Passaic counties will be without power, water or heat for days, and downed trees and wires will restrict travel. Furthermore, county and local governments have incurred millions of dollars in public infrastructure damage, and will be sure to incur millions more in recovery and reconstruction costs.
It is clear from the magnitude of the damage that recovery efforts will be beyond the means of state and local budgets, and many residents will need individual assistance to rebuild their homes. Our communities will need federal help to rebuild and recover from this severe storm.
Thank you for your timely consideration of this urgent request.
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress