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Paterson, N.J. Residents Hope Presidential Visit Will Bring Relief

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(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

PATERSON, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) – President Obama will be in New Jersey on Sunday to tour the worst hit spots of Paterson.

The Passaic River is finally receding, but some of the city is still covered in water. What isn’t flooded is lined with mud and dirt and wet, smelly trash.

At MB Appliances on Main street, owner Manuel Benitez showed CBS 2’s Dave Carlin multitudes of appliances ruined by floodwater, including refrigerators, washers, dryers, and televisions.

“Over here the water was up there two feet, inside two, two and a half,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing.”

“Maybe he can do something about it. A lot of people, they lost their houses,” Nancy Montez told CBS 2′s Lou Young of the President’s expected visit.

The president will get a first-hand look at the damage to houses, buildings and cars.

The Health and Senior Services Department has opened a call center to field questions about health concerns stemming from Hurricane Irene. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and during the weekend and Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number is: 866-234-0964.

New Jersey has been declared a federal disaster area, which frees up recovery funds. Those in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic and Somerset counties can apply for disaster aid online or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.

FEMA representatives were in Jersey City on Saturday to assess damage done by the storm.

Flood victims are encouraged to bring documentation validating their losses to show representatives for possible reimbursement.

Meanwhile, the state Board of Public Utilities will hold hearings on the performance of New Jersey electric companies after Hurricane Irene.

Gov. Chris Christie says he’s especially concerned about Jersey Central Power & Light. The governor says that the company has restored service more slowly than others in the state.

A JCP&L spokesman says the company remains focused on restoring service.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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