President Biden approves disaster declarations ahead of NYC, NJ visits

NEW YORK (WABC) -- President Joe Biden has approved disaster declarations for both New Jersey and New York following devastation by the remnants of Hurricane Ida and ahead of the president's planned visits to both states on Tuesday.

In New York, the president's approval makes federal funds available to affected individuals in the counties of Bronx, Kings, Queens, Richmond, and Westchester.

In New Jersey, Biden's action makes funds available to residents in Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset counties.

The assistance can include 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.

To apply for federal assistance, visit https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or call 1-800-621-FEMA.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted his thanks to the president via Twitter as he toured storm-ravaged parts of Hunterdon County.

"We just received a Major Disaster Declaration for in Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset counties. We will now have access to essential federal support to help New Jeresyans recover from Tropical Storm Ida. Grateful for @POTUS's swift response."

Biden is set to arrive in New Jersey at 11:50 a.m. and will tour Manville, where fires broke out in swamped homes and businesses Friday, many of which were inaccessible to firefighters because of Ida's floodwaters.

Decades of people's possessions and memories now stacked mud-choked along curbsides across Manville and Hillsborough, what's left behind after rivers rose, turning dry land into lakes for days.

Bill Stack built his home in 1978, and he and his wife had spent hours moving belongings in the basement to higher level during the height of the flooding.

His son had planned a labor day barbecue, but instead, those guests headed to the Stack's house to help with heavy lifting.

Still, they're all just thankful to be alive.

The clubhouse at Manville's Youth Athletic League was also wrecked, with volunteers leaving their own flood ravaged homes to clean up and salvage there.

Some businesses along Main Street lost nearly everything.

Biden will depart Manville at 3:10 p.m. before visiting a location in Queens before heading back to Washington at 6:05 p.m.

He previously toured parts of Louisiana, where Ida came ashore on August 29.

The storm brought devastating and deadly flooding across the New York City Tri-State Area as the massive system pushed its way inland during the week.

The historic flooding claimed the lives of 13 people in New York City, many of whom lived in illegally converted basement apartments in Queens.

As a result, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a task force and more drastic storm response plan to avoid such catastrophes in the future.

Meanwhile in New Jersey, Ida's flooding claimed the lives of at least 27 people, with four people still missing across the state, and the death toll is likely to rise.

Another five people were killed in Westchester and one in Connecticut.

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