Obama
The White House announced on 22 July that President Obama had approved disaster relief for four southern New Jersey counties. (Getty)

President Barack Obama announced on 22 July that he had approved disaster relief for four southern New Jersey counties following severe thunderstorms on 23 June.

The four counties affected were Atlantic, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester. The late June storms left around 330,100 homes without power, while damaging thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses. The storms registered winds up to 85 miles an hour, NJ.com reported.

The White House's designation grants federal aid to local governments and eligible non-profit organisations to pay for repairs and to prevent future disasters from occurring.

"I am pleased that President Obama has approved New Jersey's application for federal disaster assistance," Senator Bob Menendez said in a statement. "The federal resources provided under this declaration will help residents and communities pick up the pieces and rebuild."

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the designated disaster area may be expanded if additional investigations prove it and if state officials ask for it.

"As clean-up efforts continue and life gets back to normal for residents, the financial hardship of recovering from the 'macroburst' is still being felt," Representative Frank LoBiondo said. "This major disaster declaration will greatly help our municipalities in rebuilding critical infrastructure damaged by storm."

Governor Chris Christie said the state requested the federal aid last week because the cleanup costs were "beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected county and local governments." According to Philly.com, the damage costs were expected to surpass $15m (£9.6m).