Biden Declares NJ a Disaster Area as Ida Death Toll Rises
As floodwaters recede, the damage and death toll continues to rise in New Jersey. At least 23 deaths are blamed on the remnants of Hurricane Ida, but Gov. Phil Murphy expects that number to go higher.
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President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration, giving New Jersey money and resources to help clean up and recover. The disaster declaration covers all 21 counties and will allow both the state and local governments to apply for federal aid.
After talking with Murphy on Wednesday, Biden pledged federal support to New Jersey. Speaking from the White House, Biden said there was "a lot of damage" and said he told Murphy the FEMA teams were standing by to "provide all the assistance that's needed."
Murphy toured some of the damage on Wednesday, visiting the neighborhood in Mullica Hill where an EF-3 tornado touched down, tearing apart more than a dozen homes and wrecking the state's largest dairy farm. He also visited Hillsborough and Passaic. This morning the governor will be in Millburn, Elizabeth and Cranford, which were devastated by flooding.
The cost in human lives and economic damage is expected to rise, Murphy said, but wouldn't begin to estimate the final totals. In terms of lives, Ida is already one of the deadliest natural disasters in New Jersey History.
This is the second time in his presidency that Biden has come to New Jersey's aid after a natural disaster. He signed a disaster declaration last April after a snowstorm dumped 20-plus inches in Central and North Jersey.
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