Delaware moves forward with addressing full impact of Hurricane Irene

Delawareans are being encouraged to come forward with any questions about safety, property damage, or getting a business up and running again.

Governor Markell Tuesday announced a series of steps the state has taken in response to Hurricane Irene, which took two lives in Delaware.  Representatives of the Delaware Economic Development Office will staff a small-business hotline at 877-484-8485 to take questions about tallying the possible damage and economic impact caused by the storm.

A “clearinghouse” of hurricane-related information is also available in one place on the state’s website, www.delaware.gov.

“We obviously want to get these employers up and running.  Small business owners themselves have literally devoted much of their lives to creating a business that serves people and to creating jobs,” Markell said.  “We’re going to do everything we can to help them.” 

A point person has been named from each of six state agencies to address questions and concerns from small businesses.

Delaware Economic Development Office Director Alan Levin said it’s difficult to address the true economic impact of the hurricane, from flooded or damaged businesses to economic activity lost due to people staying home or leaving town.

“Having been in business I realize that every day you lose sales, they don’t come back,” Levin said.

The Governor also reiterated the need for Delawareans who have private water wells that may have been flooded to have their systems thoroughly tested due to the possibility of contamination.  He also had this advice about the safety of food in the refrigerator or freezer if the power has gone out:  “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Markell said each of Delaware’s three counties will collect information from residents and businesses about possible damage.  The state will compile an aggregate report for the federal government.

New Castle County:  302-395-5555

City of Wilmington:  302-576-2489

Kent County:  302-735-2200

Sussex County:  302-855-7801

DelDOT continues to monitor road conditions statewide.  High water continues to force a number of closures and detours.  Also, Delmarva Power continues to make progress restoring power.

As for fallen trees and branches, the Department of Natural Resources is temporarily lifting the ban on the disposal of yard waste with household trash through Tuesday September 6th.  Delawareans who live in communities that already have a separate yard waste collection program are asked to continue using that service.  DNREC yard waste drop-off sites remain open – CLICK HERE for more, or call 302-739-9403.

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