(The Center Square) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a major disaster declaration for four additional New Jersey counties following Tropical Storm Ida.
The federal agency added Essex, Hudson, Mercer and Union counties to a list that included Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic and Somerset counties.
The major disaster declaration opens up access to federal dollars for recovery efforts, including grants for temporary housing and home repairs. The latest declaration comes after a chorus of elected officials called on the federal government to add more counties to the major disaster declaration.
“Residents now have access to the federal help they need to rebuild,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a tweet. “We’ll continue working with our federal partners to include all eligible counties & residents.”
The storm left 27 people in New Jersey dead, and several are still missing. This week, state and federal officials assessed the storm damage across New Jersey, including Essex, Hudson, Mercer and Union counties.
“This amended disaster declaration will allow more communities in our state to get the critical federal assistance they need for their relief efforts,” New Jersey Globe quoted U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., as saying in a statement. “I was proud to work alongside Senator [Bob] Menendez and the rest of the New Jersey delegation to get this vital aid for our state and am grateful to President Biden for his decisive response to this crisis.”