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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Friday, August 10, 2012

June 30 Derecho disaster assistance follow-up

Residents and Businesses Are Encouraged to Report June 30 Storm Damages at as Atlantic County Seeks to Appeal FEMA Denial for Individual Assistance

Atlantic County residents and businesses that suffered damages to their properties and incurred losses as a result of the June 30 super derecho are strongly encouraged to submit that information to county or municipal emergency management officials who are seeking financial assistance and reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

While a federal disaster declaration for public assistance to government agencies and certain non-profit organizations in Atlantic, Cumberland and Salem counties was enacted as of July 19, 2012 it did not include individual assistance for homeowners and businesses impacted by the extraordinarily destructive storm that left thousands of Atlantic County properties without power for as long as a week during an extensive period of excessive heat and humidity. Emergency officials were notified earlier this week that FEMA has denied the request for individual assistance, but county officials plan to submit an appeal.

“These decisions are typically based on certain thresholds of property damage which is why it is imperative to have a complete compilation,” stated County Executive Dennis Levinson.

An online damage report form is available on the county’s web sites at as well as

“If you have not already done so, please take the time now to report your losses so that we can provide an accurate assessment of the devastation that occurred. We need every affected homeowner and business to participate to strengthen our chances for a successful appeal,” added Levinson.

Those without access to a computer may call their local office of emergency management. Contact information is available on the two county web sites as well as in the blue pages of the phone book.

County officials plan to meet with representatives from the state next week to begin the appeal process. The state may choose to file an appeal on behalf of all three counties or each county may decide to appeal on its own. Either way they will have 60 days in which to file an appeal and FEMA will have an equal amount of time to respond.

“With the public’s assistance in reporting damages we believe we have a good chance at reversing the decision. But there is no time to waste; the clock is ticking,” said Levinson.

--by Linda Gilmore, Atlantic County Public Information Officer
--submitted by Rick VanVranken