New York and New Jersey Residents to Receive Federal Aid After Storm

At least 40 people in New York and New Jersey have died as a result of the torrential rains and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida. Credit...
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The governors of New York and New Jersey announced on Monday that they had been granted federal aid money from the Biden administration, which declared areas in both states major disaster zones following the torrential rains and catastrophic flooding last week from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The funding, which will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, means those who have been displaced from their homes by the storm in the approved counties, including people who do not have insurance coverage, will be eligible for money to repair their homes. It will also cover legal services, unemployment assistance and crisis counseling, both states said.

The news comes as President Biden is set to visit the area on Tuesday to survey the damage from the storm that has left more than 40 dead, and has accounted for millions of dollars of damage across New York and New Jersey.

Mr. Biden will visit Manville, in north-central New Jersey, where a banquet hall and several homes exploded as a result of storm damage, and the borough of Queens, in New York City, where several people drowned inside their basement apartments.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has said that New York sustained at least $50 million in damages. On Sunday, the governor visited communities in the New York City area that had been hit hard by the storm.

“I saw the devastation of New Yorkers who lost so much from this storm,” Ms. Hochul said in a statement on Monday. “And I pledged that we would do everything in our power to help them rebuild.”

In New Jersey, where at least 27 people died, many of them swept away in their cars, Gov. Philip D. Murphy said the approval made federal funds available to the counties of Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic and Somerset.

In New York, residents of Bronx, Queens, Kings, Richmond and Westchester Counties are eligible for the aid, according to Ms. Hochul’s office.

Mr. Murphy previously announced $10 million in funding for small business affected by the deluge. That funding will provide immediate reimbursement for rent or mortgage payments for businesses and nonprofit groups with fewer than 50 employees.

Officials from both states have warned that the monumental storm — which led the National Weather Service to declare a flash flood emergency for New York City for the first time in its history — is not an outlier, but the sign of extreme weather to come.

“The world is changing,” Mr. Murphy said last week at a news conference held after he toured Mullica Hill in South Jersey, where homes were destroyed by a tornado. “These storms are coming in more frequently. They’re coming in with more intensity. As it relates to our infrastructure, our resiliency, our whole mind-set, the playbook that we use — we have got to leap forward and get out ahead of this.”

Over the weekend, Ms. Hochul announced that she also directed $378 million to securing the state’s infrastructure against future climate disasters, using funds from money FEMA previously awarded to the state to mitigate the hazards of extreme weather.

Both governors are scheduled to join Mr. Biden during his visit on Tuesday.

The visit to New York will be the president’s second tour of the storm’s wake. Last week, Mr. Biden visited Louisiana, where hundreds of thousands are still without power, facing water shortages, closed schools and damaged homes. The state is still struggling to assess how many millions of dollars in damage it has sustained.

In New York, many have only just begun to clean up the wreckage.

Michael Ferraro, 28, who lives in Flushing, Queens, with his 27-year-old brother, said their homeowner’s insurance policy only covers water damage incurred from hurricanes and sewer lines, not flooding. They’ve received a total of $2,200, Mr. Ferraro said, and do not expect to get any more.

“This is really good news,” Mr. Ferraro said of Monday’s announcement. “It’s promising, it’s hopeful. The check we got through insurance, it was a slap in the face.”

Mr. Ferraro said they also received about $5,000 through a GoFundMe campaign — money he’s grateful to have, but will still not fully offset the bills for repairs needed after water poured through the first-floor window of their two-story home on 153rd Street, destroying their newly renovated kitchen, and soaking through the bathroom and bedrooms.

“There are many, many people on this block that are hurting for something — big time,” Mr. Ferraro said. “This shouldn’t be something that just goes to the back of people’s heads, or is forgotten about.”

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-09-07 03:33:05 -0700