STATE – Gov. Chris Christie and New Jersey’s two Democratic senators, Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, have asked President Barack Obama to expedite the Garden State’s request for assistance from the federal government in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
Once the federal government has declared a major disaster, emergency federal assistance for individuals, businesses, and state and local governments will become available for recovery and rebuilding efforts.
“Hurricane Irene is a catastrophe of unusual severity and magnitude,” Christie wrote to the president. “The storm conditions required emergency shelters to be established in 16 counties to house nearly 16,000 evacuees. Over 700,000 residences have suffered power outages, and rail services have been suspended throughout the state. The torrential rains have flooded both major and local roads, necessitating highway closures and impeding travel. In light of these catastrophic conditions, field damage assessments should not be required to determine the state’s eligibility for supplemental federal assistance.”
“The destruction will lead to severe hardship and the costs will be so great that many residents will not be able to rebuild their lives on their own. In addition, Hurricane Irene caused extensive damage to public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public parks and government facilities, and local governments will face enormous challenges as they try to rebuild,” the senators wrote. “Given the severe nature of the hurricane and the extent of the damage, we ask that you immediately grant a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey and expedite federal recovery and rebuilding aid.”
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