Developing Story: New Jersey declared major disaster; damage could be in the billions
After a couple of days of performing damage assessments from the devastating Tropical Storm Irene, New York today released its preliminary total damage estimates.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this afternoon that the state faces $1 billion in damages from Tropical Storm Irene. According to Cuomo, more than 600 homes were destroyed, 150 major highways have been damaged, six towns were inudated, and 22 state bridges have been closed. Farmers across the state took a hit as well suffering at least $45 million in damage with 140,000 acres destroyed.
The damage that we have sustained is significant, and sometimes the bottom line is the bottom line. We need help on the economics, Cuomo said with federal officials after touring the storm-ravaged town of Prattsville, Greene County. We’ll bring the energy, we’ll bring the commitment, we’ll bring the drive, we’ll bring the know-how, but these are not communities of deep pockets, Cuomo continued.
President Obama announced today a federal disaster declaration for eight counties (Albany, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Schenectady, Schoharie, and Ulster) where individuals and households can receive federal assistance.
Nineteen counties, across the state were made eligible for public assistance for emergency work and the repair of disaster-damaged facilities. Among those include Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Rockland, Ulster and Westchester counties.
FEMA plans to pay 75 percent of the cleanup costs, with the state and local governments expected to cover the rest. FEMA currently has less than $800 million left in its disaster aid budget.
Residents and business owners who have sustained losses in the designated counties can begin to apply for assistance Thursday by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
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