As many Delawareans deal with the effects of Hurricane Irene, likely for days after the storm, the state’s congressional delegation says the days before Irene likely made a big difference.
While Delaware seems to have been spared the worst of the storm, a tornado caused serious damage to some homes in Lewes, thousands remain without power, and many homes and neighborhoods are flooded. Also, the economic impact of evacuating tourists and residents from coastal communities has yet to be fully measured.
Still, Congressman John Carney – who spent Sunday visiting a Red Cross Shelter at William Penn High School as well as flooded sites in New Castle and Delaware City – said the preparation apparently paid off.
“The evacuation order was unprecedented and I think very helpful and smart to get people out of the coastal areas and low-lying areas so that first-responders didn’t have to go in there and get them out if a very dangerous situation occurred,” Carney said.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, during a conference call, said counties on the Delmarva peninsula in which evacuations were ordered would qualify for federal funding under the President’s emergency declaration.
“That funding will pay for state and local government protective measures such as calling out the National Guard or overtime costs associated with public safety,” Fugate said. “We’re doing damage assessments to determine if there are additional damages that would warrant additional assistance.”
Senator Tom Carper said he noticed flattened corn fields during his tour of southern Delaware, and spoke with a farmer who lost thousands of chickens. Additionally, the effects on the downstate beaches and dunes are being evaluated.
“Out of the assessment being done this week by DEMA and FEMA, we’ll know whether there’s enough for the state of Delaware to ask for some extra help,” Carper said.
“If there’s not enough damage, that’s a good thing.”