Sussex County Delaware

Sussex Beat, Sept. 29, 1999

Western Sussex
May Get Relief
from Floyd, too
DEMA Meeting in Greenwood Oct. 1

NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.

Eric Magill, Sussex County OnlineFrom time to time, events transpire that give rise to that good, old-fashioned Sussex County paranoia.

You know, that paranoia that says the rest of the world doesn't give a hoot about what happens down here in Slower Lower Delaware.

It was deja vu all over again today when a press release arrived from Delaware Gov. Thomas R. Carper's office announcing that an agreement for the first disaster aid packages for private residences in the state's history have been signed ... for New Castle County.

That came as a bit of a shock considering that Gov. Carper toured the Greenwood area on Friday, Sept. 17, 1999, the day after Floyd passed off Sussex County's coast, and declared Greenwood one of the state's hardest hit areas with approximately 11 inches of rain in 15 hours and 1 to 4 feet of standing water throughout the town.

But according to Carper press secretary Anthony Farina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after touring the entire state, determined that only damages in New Castle County met the guidelines for federal relief.

Still, there is some good news for Greenwood -- and Seaford, too. Residents and business owners in those communities will get a chance to present their cases for disaster relief in a community meeting with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency on Friday, Oct. 1, from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at the Greenwood Town Hall.

According to DEMA spokesperson Joe Wessels, at that meeting DEMA will attempt to identify the extent of the damage in both communities and determine if any aid may be available for Greenwood and Seaford flood victims. Wessels said that even if federal aid isn't available, flood victims in those towns may be able to get state relief.

Wessels said DEMA has been working with Sussex County officials since the flooding and that if the damage is significant enough, it may result in an amendment to the original federal disaster declaration.

"The key word is 'may'," said Wessels. "If the towns don't qualify, then within the state's resources, there are a variety of programs that people may qualify for, as well."

Wessels said numerous factors would explain why the damage was determined to be less severe in Sussex County than New Castle County initially, but he assured Sussex Countians that they weren't being ignored.

"I can tell you that we are making every attempt to find out the extent of the damage in Greenwood and Seaford and will try to apply any resources available to residents there," he said. "We are working very hard to achieve that and make that happen."

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