The Camden County Office of Emergency Management has been working with local, state and federal partners to aggregate the total damage done by a severe thunderstorm on June 23. In total, the county is claiming more than $4 million for reimbursement in both public and individual assistance for the destruction created by high winds and heavy rains.
The four affected counties of Camden, Atlantic, Gloucester and Burlington have a total damage assessment of over $15 million, which surpasses all baselines for Federal Emergency Management Administration support. Gov. Chris Christie has signed off on a Major Disaster Declaration and sent it through FEMA to be signed by President Barack Obama for federal assistance.
“Our professionals have been surveying the scope of the damage for weeks coming up with a real time assessment of damages with local officials, state police and FEMA to justify reimbursement and federal assistance,” Freeholder Michelle Gentek-Mayer said. “This storm event was one of the worst in scope and severity for Camden County in modern era and was the catalyst for significant damage to homeowners and businesses.”
In total thousands of trees were brought down by straight lined winds and power was cut off to thousands of residents in the aftermath of the storm. All public and private entities had significant disruptions in their service for up to 10 days from the minute the storm touched down.
To put this storm into perspective, there were more than 1,000 fire calls throughout the county that afternoon, compared to an average day of 100 calls for service. Furthermore, the department of Public Safety took in 3,522 calls for service in a 54-hour period during Hurricane Sandy. On June 23, in a six-hour window, dispatchers took in almost 70 percent of that volume by recording 2,432 total calls.
“Again I want to thank our first responders for their yeoman like effort during this super storm and the work that continues to be done by our Office of Emergency Management together with all of our partners,” Gentek-Mayer said. “My hope is that the FEMA assistance process is expedited and done as quickly as possible so towns, businesses and residents can have peace of mind and continue to recover.”