More than a dozen additional counties in South Carolina have been approved for individual disaster assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Gov. Nikki Haley’s office announced federal officials had added the new counties Monday, which will allow residents and businesses in those counties to apply for 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.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency previously approved the assistance for hard-hit Orangeburg and Marion counties over the weekend. On Monday, the Governor’s Office said Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper, Lee, Sumter and Williamsburg had been added to the declaration.
Notably absent from the list were Charleston and Horry counties — urban counties where flooding is still a serious concern. Earlier in the day, Haley said her office is starting to get early damage reports but that it’s too early to have a statewide estimate. “They’re very estimated right now, so that’s why we haven’t released those numbers,” she told reporters Monday.
Typically, FEMA’s Public Assistance program offer grants to reimburse property owners for their expenses. The federal share is 75 percent and the state or local governments pay the remaining 25 percent. Eligible private nonprofit groups are responsible for the full 25 percent. More information about this program can be found here.
The Waccamaw River in Horry County recorded its highest-ever flood level on Monday. The National Weather Service said the river crested at 17.9 feet, topping an 88-year-old record. Emergency officials had already evacuated residents in the Bucksport community about ten miles west of Myrtle Beach as floodwaters rose. The unincorporated area is located directly between the Waccamaw and Great Pee Dee River — both of which are at flood stage.
Forecasters said rainwater that has slowly moved downstream is also meeting unusually high tides along the coast. “Right now it’s combining with an astronomical high tide,” NWS forecaster Rachel Zouzias told South Carolina Radio Network. “So each high tide is creating a little bit more of a risk for flooding in the area.”
A special charity “One SC Fund” set aside for flood victims has raised $700,000 in the past month that it hopes to use for Hurricane Matthew victims, according to Central Carolina Community Foundation director JoAnn Turnquist. Gov. Haley on Monday touted fund, which was created last year after devastating floods across the Midlands and Pee Dee. Now the governor is seeking donations again to help low-income families rebuild their homes. She was aided by South Carolina Electric and Gas officials, who announced a $200,000 contribution at her press conference.
Haley said the money will go to local nonprofits and does not pay administrative costs. She said the fund is a way the public can help, especially after a Marion County man drowned in floodwaters at his home last week. The Marion County Coroner’s Office said the Nichols man had refused emergency responders who urged him to evacuate ahead of the floodwaters.
“When you hear things like that, where he drowned in his bed, you don’t get over things like that,” she told reporters. “You’re always thinking about what else could we have done. So that’s when you turn to… reliefs like this.”
Turnquist said more than $100,000 in grants have already been approved to help with mobile food pantry trucks and temporary housing.
Those who wish to donate online can visit onescfund.org. Anyone who prefers to mail a check can send it to:
Central Carolina Community Foundation
One SC Fund
2711 Middleburg Drive, Suite 213
Columbia, SC 29204