The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued Ida-related major disaster declarations in four more counties – Essex, Hudson, Mercer, and Union – bringing the total number of New Jersey counties included up to 10.
“We just received a [FEMA] Major Disaster Declaration for Essex, Hudson, Mercer, & Union counties for Ida damages,” Gov. Phil Murphy wrote on Twitter. “Residents now have access to the federal help they need to rebuild. We’ll continue working with our federal partners to include all eligible counties & residents.”
The four new counties correspond exactly with the counties that were assessed by FEMA and the state Office of Emergency Management on Tuesday. According to Murphy and New Jersey State Police Acting Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan, three other counties – Burlington, Monmouth, and Morris – were assessed on Wednesday, so further major disaster declarations in those counties may be imminent.
Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset Counties were declared major disaster areas on Sunday, shortly after Hurricane Ida hit the state, giving those counties increased access to federal aid and resources. Some legislators and officials in other counties spoke out against their counties’ exclusion, but Murphy maintained that disaster declarations would soon be arriving in every county determined to need one.
Shortly after FEMA issued the additional declarations today, U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez issued a statement praising the decision and highlighting their own disaster recovery work, as did Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) of Hudson County.
“This amended disaster declaration will allow more communities in our state to get the critical federal assistance they need for their relief efforts,” Booker said. “I was proud to work alongside Senator 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.”
State Senators Joseph Cryan (D-Union) and Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden), both of whom had previously been critical of Union County’s lack of disaster declaration, similarly lauded the addition of the four counties.
“We would like to thank President Biden for adding Union County to the Major Disaster Declaration,” they said in a statement. “We and other local, county, and state officials expressed our disappointment over the county initially being excluded from this vital aid, but, we were very pleased to hear the news of its addition today.”
This story was at 1:43 p.m. with a statement from Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, and again at 3:07 p.m. with further statements from Rep. Albio Sires and State Sens. Joseph Cryan and Nicholas Scutari.