State officials on Thursday released the total damage costs from last October’s record flooding. Gov. Nikki Haley announced more than $1.1 billion in total damage, including more than $740 million in housing losses and nearly $140 million in road damage.
Some of the data had been reported before, but it was the first time total costs had been announced together. In addition to the housing and roads costs, agriculture officials said more than $76 million in insured crops were lost. Department of Agriculture officials have previously said South Carolina farmers suffered $350 million in crop losses when uninsured crops are also considered. Haley’s office said $200 million in other public assets were damaged, as well.
The Governor’s Office said nearly $844 million in federal assistance was made available in the flooding’s aftermath, including FEMA assistance, flood insurance and housing grants. However, Haley said she was glad South Carolina had reserve funds that were able to go towards immediate flood repairs while waiting for the federal approval process.
“D.C. is slow and we couldn’t wait on D.C.,” she told reporters while announcing the new totals Thursday.
Haley said nonprofits and disaster response crews worked to help flood victims repair their homes as quickly as possible, especially through the OneSC Fund. The fund overseen by the Central Community Foundation was pitched by the governor and various other South Carolina celebrities like singer Darius Rucker and football coaches Steve Spurrier and Dabo Swinner. It has raised $1.6 million in donations and nearly $13 million in donated skilled labor to help repair 1,100 homes statewide, she said.
“When FEMA came in, if you had mold in your trailer they gave you bleach and a tarp,” Haley said. “We weren’t going to let people live like that. We knew we had to fix it.”
The governor also announced state Disaster Recovery Coordinator Kevin Shwedo will be returning to his previous job leading the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Haley said retired Col. J.R. Sanderson will replace him. Sanderson has been with Shwedo for the past eight months assisting with recovery efforts.
19 people died during the crisis, nearly all of them in vehicles that became trapped in floodwaters. Meanwhile, at least 40,000 people lost their access to water — mostly in Columbia after the city’s infrastructure was heavily damaged. As of June 30, 36 roads remain closed — most due to failed private dams that can only be rebuilt by their private owners. Three dozen dams also failed as record amounts of rainwater undermined their structures. Very few have been rebuilt in the past eight months.
A series of town halls are planned around the state to help disaster victims alert state officials to their continuing problems or needs. The first hearing will be at Charleston Southern University next Tuesday.
July 5: North Charleston — Charleston Southern U., Whitfield Center Rooms 102 & 103
July 6: Florence — Francis Marion U., Cauthen Center, Room 114
July 7: Kingstree — Chatman Auditorium
July 11: Sumter — Patriot Hall County Govt Office
July 12: Georgetown — Howard Recreation Center