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Kent County responds to storm damage with $150,000 relief fund

Money to support clean-up efforts after Isaias

Emily Lytle
Dover Post
Two people cleanup after Tropical Storm Isaias in a neighborhood near Moore's Lake.

Kent County Levy Court commissioners approved $150,000 to go toward disaster relief in an emergency meeting Aug. 10.

County Administrator Mike Petit de Mange said the money set aside from the county’s savings will help cover costs to support the nonprofit group Team Rubicon, the placement of dumpsters and any other related needs as they come up.

“We’re in a good position to cover these initial costs that have come up to help people to start to recover,” Petit de Mange said. 

While the skilled labor from Team Rubicon will come to Dover and Kent County neighborhoods free of charge, the team asks for support in the form of housing, food and materials. The group will start arriving Aug. 13. They will stay for one to two weeks depending on weather and the amount of debris in need of removal.

Kay Sass, emergency management coordinator for Dover, said the city has been working around strict COVID-19 guidelines to help house and feed the volunteers. Working together with Capital Board President Chanda Jackson-Short and administration, the city arranged for the team to stay at Dover High School.

To help maintain the health guidelines, Sass encouraged anyone who wishes to donate to contact the city first and avoid visiting the high school. Due to the pandemic, all food must be individually packaged and prepared in a commercial kitchen. 

“Working under normal conditions it would still be a lot of work, but working under the COVID restrictions, it’s a lot more than most people would imagine,” Sass said. The city is accepting pre-packaged breakfast foods like danishes or donuts, bottled water, sports drinks and more.

Kent County is helping to organize food and any supply needs. 

More info

To donate, call Carolyn Courtney at 736-7051.

Need debris removal? Call the clean-up crisis line at 1-844-965-1386.

To report storm damage to the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, visit https://news.delaware.gov/2020/08/04/tropical-storm-isaias-damage- reporting/. This will help the state secure funding for disaster relief.

The county approved the fiscal year 2021 budget in May, but there was no line item for disaster relief to offset any costs after the Aug. 4 storm. Petit de Mange said it may be wise to incorporate an emergency fund into future budgets. “[That’s] one of the lessons I take away from this tragic event,” he said. 

Petit de Mange said he was out in the Moore’s Lake area the morning of Aug. 11, and he was encouraged to see the Delaware Department of Transportation crews and other agencies working together. 

“I think there’s been a great demonstration of goodwill and people out there helping neighbors and pulling together, sharing resources,” he said. “We’re trying to do our part to aid in that.”

Looking for ways to help?

For members of the community who want to help with the clean-up, Commissioner Jody Sweeney invites people to join him at Christ Memorial Baptist Church Saturday, Aug. 15.

If you go:

When: Saturday, Aug. 15,  8 a.m. to noon

Where: Christ Memorial Baptist Church, 1160 E. Lebanon Road, Dover. (On Route 10, near the State Street intersection). Volunteers will be working in the area of Richardson Circle.

Who: Anyone who can pick up tree limbs or use a rake!