The federal government has declared two South Carolina counties to be disaster areas, opening the way for residents and businesses in those areas to receive individual assistance.
Residents in Marion and Orangeburg counties will be eligible to receive individual assistance if they are able to document property losses from Hurricane Matthew. That assistance can include money for temporary rental assistance and essential home repairs for primary homes, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help survivors recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said staff have been in the state since Matthew passed through. “We use joint teams of federal, state and local disaster officials that go out and survey the damage.” FEMA spokesman Victor Inge told South Carolina Radio Network. “They document what they’re seeing and that is compiled and handed over to the governor to be used as a case for support in requesting federal disaster assistance.”
Inge said crews are still assessing damage in other counties. He admits the process has been long, but said Matthew’s damage is extensive and floods are still happening. Flooding continues along the Waccamaw, Little Pee Dee and Lumber rivers in Horry and Marion counties.
President Obama last week issued a major disaster declaration for 13 counties in South Carolina. That move opened federal assistance to state agencies and local governments, covering up to 75 percent of the cost for debris removal and emergency services in the aftermath of the storm.
Anyone with unmet needs such as food, clothing and shelter should call 2-1-1 to be connected with local relief supplies. Residents with damage from Hurricane Matthew can call 1-800-451-1954 to request volunteers from Helping Hands to with assist debris and mold cleanup. Visit scemd.org for the latest on South Carolina’s Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts.