FEMA assesses Ida damage in four more NJ counties

FEMA official said agency ‘needed to do additional damage assessments’

“We’re going to make sure the relief is equitable so that those hardest-hit get what they need,” President Biden said Tuesday as, along with Gov. Phil Murphy, he toured areas in Somerset County that were ravaged by Tropical Storm Ida.

To the dismay of community leaders in Hudson and Essex counties, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s initial major disaster declaration included just six New Jersey counties — Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset.

Murphy wants the feds to add at least four more: Essex, Hudson, Union and Mercer. FEMA damage inspectors fanned out across those counties on Tuesday. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said the agency “still needed to do additional damage assessments to really get a better understanding of the scope of the impact that the communities are experiencing across New Jersey” before adding more counties to the list.

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