Kyrillos wants Monmouth included in disaster declaration area

TRENTON – Sen. Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), Middletown, has urged federal officials to tour Irene-ravaged parts of Monmouth County and include it in the areas of New Jersey designated for disaster relief.

Kyrillos said this afternoon that he reached out and urged Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to visit Monmouth – where thousands of residents still are without power, he said – and it is his understanding they will visit the county on Friday.

On Wednesday, President Obama designated the far northern counties of Essex, Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Somerset disaster areas. Earlier today, U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, (R-7), asked Washington, D.C., to include the counties of Middlesex, Hunterdon and Union in the disaster declaration as well.

“I hope and expect they will see what a very brutal storm did to towns and people here and recognize that Monmouth should be included,” Kyrillos said.

Kyrillos said that he fully understands that initially the hardest-hit counties were designated disaster areas in order to begin the process of making them eligible for federal assistance, and that does not mean other counties won’t be included.

With the loss of power, the loss of tourism business at the Shore, and the ongoing problems people are experiencing due to spoiled food and broken pumps, Monmouth definitely should qualify for federal disaster assistance, Kyrillos said.

A copy of the letter Kyrillos sent to FEMA follows:

September 1, 2011

Mr. W. Craig Fugate

Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Federal Emergency Management Agency
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055

Dear Administrator Fugate:

Hurricane Irene’s record rainfall and high winds caused significant damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure in Monmouth County, New Jersey. I respectfully urge you to add Monmouth County to the list of New Jersey counties qualifying for a disaster declaration.

The combination of high tides, extreme flooding and strong winds ruined electric substations. Additionally, high winds, combined with saturated soils caused trees and other vegetation to bring down power lines. This combination of factors has caused dangerous power outages across the County. As of yesterday more than 52,000 Monmouth electric customers were without power, more than four days after Hurricane Irene.

Our major county electric utility has also advised that it may be several more days before power is restored. The damage to homes and businesses has forced families to eat out, rip out carpets, purchase generators and replace major appliances in a very difficult economic climate.

As you might imagine, people are suffering, particularly the old or infirm.

Further, flooding has caused extreme damage to Monmouth’s transportation network including the closure of major roadways.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward towards speaking with you on this issue in the immediate future.

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