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WASHINGTON - U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday approved major disaster declarations for the parts of New York and New Jersey hardest hit last week by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, freeing up financial assistance from the national government.
The aid will be available for businesses and individuals in six New Jersey counties and five in New York, where record rainfall swelled rivers, overwhelmed drainage and sewage systems, and flooded many roadways, homes and stores.
Biden plans to visit the region on Tuesday and assess the damage firsthand.
The storm killed at least 50 people in six Eastern states, including 27 in New Jersey and 13 in New York, after leaving a trail of devastation and killing at least 12 others in the southern state of Louisiana, 2,100 kilometers away, where the hurricane first came ashore from the Gulf of Mexico.
In the heavily populated New York-New Jersey region, some of the victims who drowned were trapped by rapidly rising water in basement apartments, while others were swept away in cars as torrents of water filled streets. The storm also spawned tornadoes that damaged homes and businesses.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy toured flood-damaged areas of Lambertville on Monday, the national Labor Day holiday.
He said Biden's disaster declaration would allow individuals to receive financial assistance, including money for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said damage to city infrastructure was estimated at $35 million.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said an initial assessment showed that the storm damaged more than 1,200 homes in her state and caused about $50 million in damage to public infrastructure and property.
In Louisiana, hundreds of thousands of people could be without electricity for weeks, as repair crews face the daunting task of untangling downed power lines and transformers blocking roadways.
Some material in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.