President Biden declared a major disaster in New Jersey on Sunday as a result of last week’s destructive Hurricane Ida that hit the state on Wednesday night into Thursday.
The declaration will make federal funding available to state residents in six counties – Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset – allowing for grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
In addition, federal funding will also be made available to tribal and eligible local governments along with certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storm.
Statewide, residents and businesses spent the holiday weekend trying to clean up damage from the storm, as rescue workers resumed the search for two friends whose car was caught up in the floodwaters.
Nidhi Rana, 18, and Ayush Rana, 21, were last seen Wednesday evening when their car began floating toward a spot where the water flows underground toward the Passaic River. Passaic Mayor Hector Lora said in a text Sunday that a dozen search boats were taking part in the search with the aid of a state police air unit.
A car that was that was swept onto the banks of the Raritan River by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida, remains in the area in Piscataway N.J, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
In Bloomfield in Essex County, one victim who died the day after the storm was apparently electrocuted while trying to plug in a generator, authorities said. Aventino Soares, 58, was found by police officers around 11:30 p.m. Thursday on the side of an Ampere Parkway house, Bloomfield police told NJ.com.
One New Jersey school damaged by flooding will likely remain closed for the remainder of the calendar year, an official told NJ Advance Media for NJ.com.
Superintendent Michael Burke said there was little chance that the Cresskill Middle/High School in Bergen County, which houses about 1,000 students, will be “even close to being ready until 2022, at the earliest.”
The district has gotten permission from state education officials to conduct virtual classes when the school year starts Wednesday, he said. Officials are looking for off-campus locations to serve as classrooms and hopes to have in-person learning for “at least some grades” by November, he said.
Gov. Phil Murphy, who said Saturday night the death toll in the Garden State had reached 27, said at least four people remained missing following what he called an “historic” storm. He said he had already sought federal assistance and would continue to ask for more “because we need it.”
The remnants of Hurricane Ida killed at least 50 people in six Eastern states after it brought historic rain Wednesday that led to deadly flooding and sudden storm waters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.