Delaware pitches in to help Irma victims

DOVER — Delaware entities are doing what they can to help people impacted by Tropical Storm Irma.

The storm, downgraded from a hurricane Monday, has left millions without power in Florida and resulted in at least nine deaths, with the full extent of the devastation not yet known.

Irma follows Hurricane Harvey which hit Texas about two weeks ago and also saw Delaware organizations provide assistance.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency sent a team to South Carolina last week to prepare for Irma and is working to dispatch Delaware Department of Transportation employees to Florida.

They are expected to be there for about two weeks, according to a DelDOT spokesman who said Florida will cover the cost.

Delaware dispatched the team through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a mutual-aid assistance agreement between the 50 states.

Dover Air Force Base, along with Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina, flew Air Mobility Command C-17s to Orlando, Florida, on Saturday night. The airplanes carried approximately 300 health care professionals who will support the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in providing care to the injured.

The Delaware Electric Cooperative has dispatched two contract crews from Utility Lines Construction Services to assist Central Florida Electric Cooperative.

“Seventy-five percent of the utility’s consumers are currently without power. Electric cooperatives typically offer aid during major disasters and we know our friends in Florida would send help if we were hit with a major storm,” Delaware Electric Coop spokesman Jeremy Tucker wrote in an email.

“Delaware Electric Cooperative crews have traveled all over the country to assist in restoration efforts during major storms, including Hurricane Katrina and the 2015 blizzard that struck New England.

“While we are unable to provide as many crews as the larger regional power companies, we do our best to help is any way we can, while also ensuring we have the resources in place to respond to the daily needs of our members.”

About a dozen volunteers and staffers from the Red Cross Greater Chesapeake Region are responding to the storm, with more to come.

Individuals can donate to organizations like the Red Cross or Salvation Army to assist people affected by the storm.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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