New Jersey flood victims seek aid to help with recovery efforts

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The cost of damage from flooding around the state this weekend is estimated to be in the millions.

Parts of Passaic County were the worst hit when heavy rainfall caused rivers to overflow. 

Woodland Park resident Tracy Papienuk says that she brought her Lackawanna Avenue home 17 years ago. She says that it has flooded before, but never this badly or this costly.

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“I really don't know how much loss and with insurance, if they’ll even pay us back everything that we lost. It's emotional stress,” she says.

Woodland Park officials say that many residents are fearful that their flood insurance won’t cover the cost of all of the damage. But Mayor Keith Kazmark says that the town is seeking help.

"If there are gaps in coverage, where FEMA can come in and be helpful to those people, that's something we are looking at achieving,” he says.

Kazmark says that Woodland Park and other Passaic County municipalities have already taken steps toward getting FEMA assistance for residents. Nearby Little Falls resident Kushal Shah says that that aid would be helpful.

"Without that we'll be sleeping on the floors - we have no mattress, no refrigerator, dishwasher, laundry, no dryer,” he says.

MORE: News 12 New Jersey Weather Center
Photos: Flooding around New Jersey

The town declared a local state of emergency. Gov. Phil Murphy also declared one at the state level after touring the flood-damaged areas. Both declarations helped fund the initial emergency response. Officials say that it is a step toward a federal declaration, which could bring FEMA funding.

"What that now allows us to do is to start to assess the damage, and put a value to that damage and if it meets certain thresholds then we may be eligible for state and even federal aid,” Kazmark says.

Officials advise any resident hoping to get aid to document all that they have lost. They should keep track of items destroyed and how much they cost.

The American Red Cross has been out in the flooded areas of the state providing immediate assistance to those who were affected. Volunteers were handing out cleaning kits, water and snacks.

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