Uploaded on Aug 28, 2011
The Today Show (Special Edition) - August 28, 2011. (Transcript Below)
Matt Lauer: Chris Christie is the Governor of New Jersey. Good morning again Governor. Nice of you to join us.
Governor Christie: Thank you Matt.
Matt Lauer: You were with us about an hour ago and you said you still hadn't gotten reports from some of the coastal areas of New Jersey. Have you been able to get more information on what's going on down there?
Governor Christie: I have been Matt. We've started to do some search and rescue and what we're finding at least preliminarily is that the property damage right along the coastline is not as bad as we had feared it would be. Now that's preliminary and it's from helicopter passes across the Shore by our State Police. But so far that looks like it's a little bit better than we had hoped, although we still have some high tide and some storm surge issues to deal with regarding water damage. But at least so far the coastline looks like it may be better than we had hoped it would be, but we still have now Matt over half a million people without power, over 250 road closures across the state, and the thing I want to emphasize again to the folks in New Jersey who are watching is please stay in your home. There is no, no safe place to be now outside right now in New Jersey, between downed power lines, flooding, you need to stay in your home and if you do we can keep you safe and then we can ride through this.
Matt Lauer: And you know there are a lot of people who did evacuate, those million people from the coastal areas. They are desperate to know if their property has been damaged. They want to get back home to see what's going on and yet you don't want those people heading into that area right now.
Governor Christie: Not yet. We need to make a full assessment of what things look like on the coastline. I'm particularly concerned about downed power lines and until we can get the power companies in there and it's safe to move crews in there to make it safe for people to travel, I don't want people doing that. Also the flooding is extensive Matt. We have record flooding in New Jersey already starting in the Bound Brook area, in the Pompton Plains area, and so we need to keep people away from those areas right now to make sure we can get people in there to help folks who need to be evacuated and we don't need people trying to rush back in to the barrier islands at the Shore until we know it's safe for them to do so.
Matt Lauer: And just in the few seconds I have left Governor, we often hear that governors declare a state of emergency. The federal government does the same. What does it actually mean? What does it allow you to do?
Governor Christie: Well first we declared a state of emergency a few days ago anticipating this. What it allows me to do is to call the National Guard up, to get the National Guard assets in place, and we now have over 2,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen already doing some rescue missions and being ready to help us as we move forward. On the federal level what it allows us to do and the President did a pre-landing declaration of emergency for New Jersey at my request was to allow FEMA assets to begin to flow to New Jersey. We have FEMA representatives right here in the Operations Center who are working with us, and so that's what those declarations of emergency do.
Matt Lauer: Right.
Governor Christie: Allow us to call up the National Guard on the state level and then federal funding from FEMA on the federal level.
Matt Lauer: Chris Christie, you got a lot of things to do this morning. Governor, I really appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
Governor Christie: Matt, thank you very much and let's everyone stay in their homes and stay safe.
Matt Lauer: Good idea.