06/28/2006 5:40 AM ET; UPDATED 6/29/2006 8:08 AM ET
DOVER, Del.- Areas of Delmarva that experienced recent flooding are now seeking assistance in their recovery efforts.
Most Delmarva counties reported substantial rain late Tuesday night on through early Wednesday morning, but there was no major flooding.
Now the recovery and clean-up efforts begin for the portions of Delmarva hit hard by Sunday's flooding, which washed away roadbeds, destroyed farm crops, damaged homes and businesses and left about 40 people temporarily homeless. Several roads remain closed in affected areas.
The locations particularly hard hit were Caroline and Dorchester counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and western Sussex County, Del.
In Delaware, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for Sussex County, which was hit by heavy flooding after torrential weekend rains. Minner's emergency declaration is a requisite step in order for the state to receive federal disaster assistance to help residents of the town of Seaford and other areas left flooded after more than a foot of rain fell in some areas.
"Many residents and business owners in the Seaford area have been hard hit by flooding and many of them do not carry flood insurance," Minner said. "I am hopeful that declaring a state of emergency will result in federal relief for some of those who have experienced extensive property damages as a result of the recent flooding."
Minner's emergency declaration directs state agencies and departments to assist in response and clean-up efforts, suspends bidding requirements for purchasing materials, and directs the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) to coordinate with federal officials in applying for aid for those who might be eligible for emergency relief.
DEMA will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Seaford Fire Hall on the corner of Cannon and King streets. The meeting is not just for people from Seaford but for any Delaware resident whose home or business experienced damage from flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the Delaware Department of Transportation and the state Department of Public Health will also be in attendance at the meeting.
Those attending will hear eligibility requirements for both public assistance and individual assistance, Federal Emergency Management Agency programs that provide funding for certain damages and losses incurred during federally declared disasters. The meeting is intended to familiarize appropriate government officials at all levels and representatives of eligible organizations and utilities with how to go about applying for federal public assistance following disasters. Home and business owners will learn of eligibility requirements and necessary procedure for obtaining individual assistance.
According to DEMA, in both cases, those who experienced damage to public facilities, municipal infrastructure, homes or businesses should begin documenting all damages as thoroughly as possible.
In addition to discussion of federal programs, officials from state agencies will provide information regarding public safety and progress on assessing damages and restoring infrastructure and utilities. In addition to FEMA, the Delaware Department of Transportation, the state Department of Public Health and the Delaware Insurance Commissioner's Office will also be in attendance at the meeting.
In Maryland, Gov. Robert Ehrlich on Wednesday got a first-hand look at the flood damage. He visited Hurlock in Dorchester County and other flooded areas around the state. He said the state will be applying for help through FEMA. He said flood victims need to get their reports together now.
"Get your paperwork, get your facts in order," he said. "Obviously people are understandably emotional in the short-term, but it's very important in the long-term to get your case together."
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency says it could take weeks for aid to arrive.
Officials estimate that flooding caused between $10-12 million in damage to roads and agriculture alone.