In early September, New Jersey saw the remnants of Hurricane Ida wreak havoc on Garden State with excessive flooding and tornadoes.
Thirty residents died, including two who perished in Mercer County. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stepped in to help, establishing several disaster recovery centers (DRCs) in affected areas.
On September 6, President Biden approved major disaster declarations for New Jersey, focusing on incidents from September 1-3. Ewing’s RDC opened on September 14, based at the Hollowbrook Community Center on 320 Hollowbrook Drive.
Representatives from several state and federal agencies such as FEMA, US Small Business Administration, New Jersey State Office of Emergency Management and others will be available to answer questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. week ends.
The DRC aims to help survivors file financial compensation claims, provide resources and assistance along with other forms of disaster assistance. It will remain an active location until the community no longer needs services to recover from the disaster.
FEMA has an online resource, New Jersey Remnants Of Hurricane Ida, which provides insight into information on the global crisis. Federal assistance is provided to homeowners, tenants, businesses, and others in need, including survivors who are not legal US citizens.
Mercer County Director Brian M. Hughes announced the opening of Mercer County in DRC as one of the officials who helped set up the site.
âThe damage in Mercer County is widespread and widespread, and is impacting local governments, businesses and residents alike,â he said. âSeveral of our towns have experienced significant water damage, including the Township of Hopewell, the Borough of Hopewell and the Townships of Ewing, Lawrence and Hamilton, and clean-up and repairs are underway. While my team assessed the damage, many roads and bridges also suffered significant damage and repairs will take months. “
âIt was a storm of historic proportions, and I want to thank FEMA and the Biden administration for their attention to Mercer County. We’ll get through this together, âadded Hughes.
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) worked with FEMA to perform preliminary damage assessments to see which counties qualified for reporting. Senator Cory Booker’s page on Ida says that once NJOEM officials complete their assessments, they will submit their application to FEMA, which will assess them and approve the area on an “ongoing basis.” This explains why Mercer County was not originally one of the counties approved in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
As of September 18, 12 counties in New Jersey are approved by FEMA for assistance.
Nikki Gaskins Campbell is Media Relations Specialist for FEMA in Mercer County. She stresses the importance of filing claims on time, because if residents don’t apply to FEMA by the deadline, they won’t be able to access possible federal help to supplement their insurance. Grants do not have to be repaid, but the money must help survivors in the recovery process with essential items.
âYou don’t have to go to a DRC to register,â said Gaskins Campbell, but FEMA still employs DRC with representatives for those who prefer face-to-face interactions. âWe encourage people not to delay. We want them to start the recovery process as quickly as possible. So document your damage, take pictures, keep all receipts, and then file them with your insurance. If you feel that you are uninsured or underinsured, by all means, apply to FEMA to see if you can possibly qualify for disaster assistance.
By law, FEMA cannot duplicate what insurance agrees to pay, meaning that only people in 12 counties with direct damage from Ida can receive financial compensation from FEMA, if they are not. not already sufficiently covered by their suppliers.
âBut we don’t want people to procrastinate because there is a deadline,â she said, noting that it is usually 60 days after a major disaster declaration that applications can be filed. âWe want people to really hurry up and move forward and start the movement so that they can move forward and start to regain a sense of normalcy if they have suffered damage as a result of ‘Ida. “
Anyone can apply online at assistancecatastrophe.gov/, or they can download the FEMA app from Apple or Google Play mobile stores. If there is a problem, the FEMA hotline at 1-800-621-3362 is always available to answer calls to complete the process or respond to inquiries. People who require relay services, such as videophones, InnoCaption or CapTel, must provide FEMA with the corresponding service number.
Federal assistance encompasses what is generally not covered by insurance policies, such as homeowner or tenant insurance policies, as well as active volunteer agencies and mass-care needs like emergency food. or shelter.
When applying, FEMA recommends being prepared with a current phone number, the original address during the disaster and a current address, a social security number, and a loss and damage list. Those with insurance are requested to have the policy number, agent, and company name of the provider.
In addition to FEMA, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to “homeowners, tenants, businesses of all sizes, and most nonprofits.” SBA claims, likewise, cannot be issued for the same losses that loss insurance already plans to cover.
Applicants who are referred to the SBA can complete their loan applications whether or not they accept the offer if they wish to remain eligible for other FEMA housing.
Most nonprofits, small businesses, and those who practice aquaculture can get loans of up to $ 2 million for working capital needs, even without property damage, as well as the same monetary maximum. for any combination of property damage and working capital requirements. Businesses of all sizes and most nonprofits can get loans of up to $ 2 million for specific property damage.
For homeowners, loans of up to $ 200.00 are available to repair or replace their home. For homeowners and tenants, up to $ 40,000 can be used to replace personal property.
Renters can apply, just like owners, with the same conditions in place. If you have insurance, file a claim with your supplier, possibly including a settlement or denial. Whether it is not insured or not, FEMA can intervene to help you.
FEMA says it can financially support tenants who choose to rent alternative temporary accommodation if they are moved from their primary residence, as well as cover monthly rent charges and essential utilities. They can also reimburse accommodation costs if applicants pay out of pocket for hotels or motels, including the cost of the room and any taxes charged.
Those looking for additional help can call 800-659-2955 or email [email protected] People who do not qualify may be eligible for SBA dependent categories, such as SBA dependent ONA, which includes assistance with personal property or replacement of essential personal property as well as disaster related costs. . Items needed may include furniture, manuals, tools, and other second-hand goods.
FEMA only helps pay to recover basic household necessities, with an inspection required to confirm losses. Habitable houses are described by them as having a structurally sound exterior and interior, and the house can act as a shelter. They will also take into account the proper functioning of the electricity, gas, heating, plumbing, sewer and septic systems.
If owners or tenants cannot find accommodation with their house in unliveable conditions and they do not have insurance coverage for temporary accommodation, they can apply for short-term financial assistance.
Other expenses and needs include: child care, medical, dental, funeral and funeral care, essential household items, essential vehicle damage, moving and storage costs, as well as various items used to help with disaster, like a generator.
Survivors without US citizenship may also be eligible as âqualified aliens,â whose status will not be adversely affected by the request for assistance. Those who can file the case are green card holders who are legal permanent residents, asylum seekers, refugees or any undocumented person whose deportation status is refused, as well as those released on parole in the country for at least a year. Anyone with conditional entry, who are Cuban / Haitian entrants, or who are subjected to cruelty or human trafficking with âTâ or âUâ visas, are included in the requirements.
Ineligible parents or guardians can register on behalf of their children, whether or not they are citizens. FEMA can help with phone calls for people unsure of their status to the same number for all questions, 1-800-621-3362.
The repercussions of Hurricane Ida will continue to impact not only those who make claims, but the state as a whole. Hughes went on to acknowledge the loss of individuals who, although not from Mercer County, perished in the area during the hurricane.
âI am saddened to report two confirmed deaths related to the storm. Both deaths involved people who were blown away while in their respective vehicles, âsaid Hughes.
âGod grant peace to their souls, as well as to the many other residents of NJ who have been lost. All the loss of life in these circumstances is devastating for all of our communities, but I would be remiss if I did not recognize the incredible number of successful rescues in painful conditions, âhe continued.
âMercer County had about 300 emergency responders who saved more than 100 victims on the night of the storm. One of those rescues was an almost 4 hour ordeal with the victim eventually extracted and rescued by helicopter that flew over the raging floodwaters, âsaid Hughes, reinforcing that the shared community spirit has helped save people. lives, as it will through continued financial aid programs in the time to come.
“Our Mercer County emergency responders – our police, firefighters, EMS, and the many DOT road personnel who helped with traffic and barricades – are heroes in my book.”