WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has declared a major disaster for New Jersey, opening the way for the use of federal funds to help meet the recovery needs of families and businesses victimized by floods that struck the state earlier this month.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to private property from severe storms and flooding that occurred over the period of April 1-3.
After the declaration, Brown designated the following nine counties eligible for federal aid to affected residents and business owners: Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Peter J. Martinasco of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Martinasco said that affected residents and business owners in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will be available starting tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, work with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security On March 1, 2003.