Mayors in Union, Hudson upset their counties have not been approved for disaster relief in wake of Ida
Mayors in Union and Hudson counties are not happy that the counties have not been approved for a federal disaster declaration a week after Ida slammed into New Jersey.
The counties are two of the 15 that have not been approved.
"Plainfield and Union County have been overlooked," says Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp.
Last week, Ida caused trees to fall on Jefferson Avenue and dumped soaking rains that sent a river of waist-deep water flowing through the street. But today, only half the street is in a federal disaster area.
The Dunellen side of the street in Middlesex County was included in President Joe Biden's major disaster declaration, but the Plainfield side of the street was not because Union County is not one of the six counties included in the federal declaration.
"It's incredible in my mind that as of now, a week after this storm has caused such devastation, that we are still fighting over whether or not Plainfield and Union County and other parts of the state ought to be declared a disaster area eligible for federal funding," Mapp says.
The storm in no way spared Union County. In Elizabeth, four people including a family of three, died when their apartment complex flooded.
Mapp says he's seen 5 to 6 feet of basement flooding in homes in town. He's baffled that Union, so far, has not been included in the disaster declaration that would allow more residents to file flood insurance claims and the town to be reimbursed for up to 75% of expenses connected to the storm.
"Whether it's costs for cleanup, costs for police or fire, having to take care of these issues in these very difficult times," Mapp says.
"I was astonished that we weren't included," says Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. He was vocal about Hudson County being left out of the declaration but is optimistic that would soon change.
"There was no reason we shouldn't have been included in the first round. But a lot of finger-pointing back and forth on between who to blame for that. But the only thing I'm interested in is getting it fixed," Fulop says.
Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday he expects the disaster declaration to be expanded, but the question is how much longer that could take.
In the meantime, Mapp is calling on the state's congressional delegation to press FEMA to expand the disaster declaration.