Derecho earns disaster declaration for area

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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama issued a major disaster declaration for Atlantic, Cumberland and Salem counties Thursday, July 19.

The announcement triggers the release of federal funds to help communities recover from the Saturday, June 30 derecho.

The incident was described as severe storms and straight-line winds.

Mitigation approved was assistance for action taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards. Public assistance is to be made available for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, all counties in New Jersey are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

“The sheer force of winds and rain that cut across South Jersey communities and pummeled the homes and businesses of residents was far beyond what municipalities and the counties could handle,” U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo said Thursday. “It was appropriate to request federal assistance and I’m pleased President Obama has granted a major disaster declaration to communities in Atlantic, Cumberland and Salem counties. With this declaration and the federal assistance it promises, local and state officials will have the necessary resources to clean up and rebuild. I appreciate Acting Governor Guadagno’s efforts to ensure the safety of the residents of South Jersey affected by the substantial property and infrastructure damage these storms caused.”

Guadagno had petitioned the federal government for a major disaster declaration Wednesday, July 11, citing destruction in each of the counties and the activation of their Emergency Operating Centers.

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