Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Residents of Morris and 11 other New Jersey counties who suffered damages as a result of the severe storms and flooding that began on March 12 are urged to register for disaster assistance as soon as possible.

Federal funding has been made available to affected individuals in Morris, Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset and Union Counties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said residents and business owners who sustained losses can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or for the speech or hearing impaired, TTY 1-800-462-7585. These toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Online registration can be done anytime at www.disasterassistance.gov .

“Do it now and get into the FEMA system,” said state Coordinating Officer Lt. Bill McDonnell. “We urge affected residents to go online or make that call and to take that first step toward recovery.”

Individuals and business owners should register even if they have flood insurance, McDonnell said. Some losses may not be covered by insurance, and federal grants may cover those expenses, he said. Registering with FEMA is required for federal assistance even if a person has registered with another disaster relief organization such as the American Red Cross, local officials or churches.

Applicants will need to provide their Social Security number; the address of the damaged home or apartment and a description of the damage; information about insurance coverage; a current contact telephone number and an address where they can receive mail; and bank account and routing numbers if they want direct deposit of any financial assistance.

“We understand that the people of New Jersey have been through some tough times, and we are here ready to help. We strongly recommend that they register right away,” said FEMA’s federal coordinating officer, William L. Vogel.

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.