President Obama Pledges Federal Aid Assistance During Visit To Flooded NJ Areas

PATERSON, NJ (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama says he will do whatever it takes to help those communities that were flooded, battered and bruised by Irene.

The president visited New Jersey Sunday for a firsthand look at the destruction caused by Irene. Flood waters from the swollen Passaic River have devastated a number of northern New Jersey communities since the storm hit.

PHOTO GALLERY: Obama Tours Hurricane Irene Damage In New Jersey

“We should not underestimate the heartache that’s going through a lot of these communities, affecting a lot of families,” Obama said during a news conference. “We want to make sure that we’re there to help and I’m going to make sure that even after the cameras are gone and attention is somewhere else, that FEMA and federal officials continue to work with our local officials to make sure we’re doing the right thing.”

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports: Paterson Residents Were Eager To See President

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports: President Obama Pledges Aid 

On his way to Paterson, the president stopped in Wayne, that was also hit hard by flooding from the Pompton River, which flows into the Passaic.

“The entire country is behind you,” said Obama. “And we are going to make sure that we provide all the resources that are necessary in order to help these communities rebuild.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson are joining Obama on the tour that is being led by Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie, who has praised Obama’s response to Irene, greeted the president when he arrived in Newark.

Once in Wayne, Obama was joined by Mayor Christopher Vergano, who led the president on a tour of Fayette Avenue.

“Everybody’s going to be working hard to help you recover,” Obama told one woman. Residents watched as the president walked past flooded homes with piles of garbage and soaked possessions lining the streets.

Obama said the government will uphold its promise to support communities that were hit by the storm.

“I know that there’s been some talk about whether there’s going to be a slow down in getting funding out here, emergency relief. As President of the United States, I want to make it perfectly clear that we are going to meet our federal obligations,” he said.

After Wayne, Obama made his way to Paterson where mayor Jeffery Jones estimates 3,500 people are still in shelters or other accommodations. The raging Passaic River flooded the downtown and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate in the wake of Irene.

paterson President Obama Pledges Federal Aid Assistance During Visit To Flooded NJ Areas

Paterson, NJ (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

“The recovery part is probably the most difficult because each home has to be assessed one by one by the utility companies to make sure that the flood, the mud, the contaminants don’t create other hazards,” said Paterson mayor Jeffery Jones. “So it’s going to be a very slow process.”

The flooding also caused serious damage to homes and businesses.

Linda Staton has lived in her Paterson home for almost 20 years and says this is the first time she’s been flooded. While hauling full trash bags to the curb, she says she’s most of what she lost was in her basement.

“I work at a school, I’m a personal assistant and I had a lot of school supplies and a lot of food in the basement,” she said. “All my winter clothes are gone. All our appliances that were down there, the washer, the dryer, the freezer.”

Meanwhile, all 21 counties in New Jersey have now been declared major disaster areas and are eligible for disaster relief.

For more information about receiving federal assistance, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

What do you think about the President’s visit to Paterson? Sound off below in our comments section…

Comments

One Comment

  1. Morris Bergen says:

    It’s not enough for New Jersey to receive disaster aid. That aid MUST come at the expense of New York City and it MUST be fully paid for with NYC tax dollars. We’re the REAL Americans. We’re better than they are, and the only way to prove it is with THEIR money.

  2. Politics As Usual says:

    Christie is holding on to hundreds of millions of federal dollars from the ARC rail tunnel that he canned a while back. He should be required to return that first before getting any federal disaster aid.

  3. jbrutal says:

    looks like jersey belongs in the same category of all those flyover states who leach off FEMA and then complain about the feds.

    tax dollars buying fat jersey mamas new carpets and couches.

    wah.

  4. Vienna Joe says:

    FEMA administrator Craig Fugate and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson are joining Obama on a tour of all the fast food joints that are frequented by Chris Christie. Titled “Lard-fest 2011”, the tour is being led by the massive hippo Gov. Chris Christie.

  5. CHRISTIE MUST GO says:

    “The entire country is behind you,” said Obama…..TYPICAL POLITICAL TALK……..NOTHING WILL GET DONE.MARK MY WORDS

  6. Very conservative says:

    Nobama wanting to help white people for a change? Say it isn’t so.

  7. Mark says:

    Below is the direct link to him enroute to the flooding.
    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-668201

  8. Mark says:

    President Obama lands at the Essex County Airport in Fairfield NJ, but does not visit that town, which was devastated by flooding so bad that the town was shut down to residents only.

    Below is the direct link to him enroute to the flooding.
    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-668201

  9. Mark says:

    President Obama lands at the Essex County Airport in Fairfield NJ, but does not visit that town, which was devastated by flooding so bad that the town was shut down to residents only.

    http://ireport.cnn.com/recent-updates.jspa

  10. Morris Bergen says:

    It’s not enough for New Jersey to receive disaster aid. That aid MUST come at the expense of New York City and be fully paid for with NYC tax dollars. We’re the REAL Americans. We’re better than they are, and the only way to prove it is with THEIR money.

  11. Cailin says:

    I wish he’d come here to Pompton Lakes. Only 5000 homes across the state? Well, I’d say at least 500 of those are in the streets surrounding me in Pompton. You go down the street and everyone’s entire household is on the curb, waiting for garbage pick-up; it’s horrifying.

  12. Gary says:

    I’m glad the president is coming here. I’m tired of politics, hate talk radio and finger pointing and blame. I hope he gets this country turned around, gets cooperation from republicans, reelected and helps make this country great again.

  13. Garth says:

    And I guess during his visit, all those living along the river bank and in the lowest area of town will be waiting holding their breath that Obama just magically scotch gaurds the town and everything will be just wonderful again !! yes it is a tragedy, but most have had the opportunity to get out or sell to the Feds on more than one occassion. You chose to stay, so now you are hoping that the President just magically does something to insulate and water prrof the whole town. Well guess what, New Orleans is still waiting for the same thing. You want to fight with water and mother nature, you will for sure always lose the battle.

    1. Cailin says:

      Er, many people that flooded out have never flooded before in the history of their house. Blaming victims is real classy.

    2. Peter says:

      Moses succeeded! Maybe he had something that is lacking in this generation,faith and trust and hope in a real and present God.But,Garth,if you choose not to believe that’s fine too. Just pointing out the power of someone greater than man or nature.

  14. Steve says:

    Oh, gee. It looks like it’s been raining here. Wow, I just spent a quarter of a million dollars flying here. Maybe it could have helped someone. Oh well, it’s about me, isn’t it? Everything is good, isn’t it?

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