Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that New Jersey received a Major Disaster Declaration for six counties – Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset – which will provide access to essential federal support to help New Jerseyans recover from Tropical Storm Ida.
Essex County towns were hard hit by Hurricane Ida but Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said the county is getting passed over for relief.
“I am terribly disappointed that FEMA did not include Essex County among the areas eligible for federal recovery assistance from Hurricane Ida. The storm was indiscriminate in how it destroyed businesses and residences, flooded entire downtown areas, buckled roads and took lives. We understood the severity of the storm and declared a State of Emergency prior to its arrival because we knew the aftereffects would be devastating. The tremendous losses by residents and businesses owners of Essex County should not be overlooked; we don’t deserve to be forgotten by FEMA. I stand with Governor Murphy in demanding the Essex County become eligible for Federal disaster relief.”
Montclair Councilor at Large Peter Yacobellis, who started a relief fund to support Montclair families and businesses, said the Township needs this aid.
“I’m happy to see many counties around New Jersey receive the formal federal major disaster declaration. However, as of today, Essex County isn’t one of them,” Yacobellis said. “It’s my understanding that the county is still being evaluated. On behalf of residents and businesses in Montclair who were devastated by a record 7.54” of rain that sent a deluge of water into schools, homes, stores, and restaurants and created significant risk to life, I’m pleading with FEMA for this aid. The insurance marketplace has not caught up to climate change and we still have a pandemic that people and businesses are trying to survive.”
Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller had this to say:
“On behalf of the Township of Montclair, I am shocked and angry that FEMA did not include Essex County as an area eligible for FEMA relief dollars. Given the devastation that our residents, businesses, and township have experienced, it is impossible to comprehend how FEMA determined we would not be granted assistance from the Federal Government. I stand with County Executive DiVincenzo and Governor Murphy in demanding we become eligible for disaster relief funding.”