TRENTON - The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened flood-damage recovery centers yesterday in Lumberton and other locations hit hard by the April 15 nor'easter.

People and businesses that register with FEMA can go to the centers and meet with representatives to "access the full menu of federal programs that are out there to assist people," said Barbara Lynch, a FEMA spokeswoman.

The Lumberton center has been set up in the Community Room at the Municipal Building.

The centers - in Lumberton, Bound Brook, Fairfield, Hackensack, Manville and Paterson - will stay open indefinitely from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Lynch said.

Those within the designated counties can apply for assistance by registering on the Web at www.fema.gov or by calling 800-621-3362.

FEMA officials are scouting other areas for centers in Hudson, Middlesex, Morris and Union Counties. Three more centers will open in coming days, Lynch said.

Nine counties - Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union - have been declared federal disaster areas.

A total of 12 counties are authorized for federal assistance due to the storm. But assistance in Camden, Mercer and Sussex Counties is available only for public infrastructure and cleanup needs, Lynch said.