President Barack Obama declared New Jersey a major disaster area Wednesday afternoon in response to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Irene this weekend, officials said. The move comes after Gov. Chris Christie and the congressional delegation .
The declaration will allow the federal government to award FEMA assistance to local residents, and state and municipal governments, according to officials with Rep. Bill Pascrell's (D-NJ) office.
"Hundreds of thousands of New Jersey families and business owners have endured incredible losses and stress during the last several days," Pascrell said in a statement Wednesday. "The flooding in the Passaic River valley was of a historic magnitude and loss of power throughout my district was unprecedented. Municipalities all over the state are operating beyond their budget in order to rebuild communities and continue basic municipal services. I am relieved that New Jersey residents and businesses will have an opportunity to be compensated by the federal government and I will ensure that FEMA is adequately responsive to my constituents."
The declaration follows an earlier announcement by Pascrell that Obama will visit Paterson Sunday to survey the destruction wreaked by the storm.