As record floodwaters finally start to drop across the Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions, the attention now shifts to repairs and recovery for hundreds of damaged homes.
The Waccamaw River and Intracoastal Waterway both set records for flood levels in Horry County earlier this week, swamping the Conway and Socastee areas. Hundreds of homes have been impacted by the flooding after Hurricane Matthew, according to county emergency management director Randy Webster. While the Waccamaw crested on Monday, water levels are still expected to keep affected neighborhoods impassable until this upcoming weekend.
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials on Wednesday added Horry County to the list of South Carolina county governments eligible to be reimbursed for infrastructure repairs. Previously, FEMA would only reimburse debris removal and emergency protective measures. The new expansion announced Wednesday provides a partial reimbursement of costs for damages to roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities, and parks and recreational facilities.
Myrtle Beach-based Impact Ministry is leading the volunteer cleanup efforts. “We’ve got about 400 homes that are in or underwater right now,” Executive Director Todd Wood said. “So we’re going to be starting the ‘mudout’ portion of this probably as we start into the first of next week. We’ve got to wait until the waster goes down first before we can begin that.”
‘Mudding out’ a home will be the next step once the water recedes. This consists of removing all drywall, insulation, flooring and appliances below the water-line and treating any mold growth. Temporary replacements are made until the home can then be fully rebuilt.
So far, most of Impact Ministry’s work has been in debris and downed tree removal. Wood said flood recovery work is on hold until the water levels recede. “The meter tells us it’s dropping, but you can’t really see it falling yet,” he said. “Two inches is so little, we haven’t seen the drop yet.”
Wood encouraged Horry County residents who need help or wish to offer it to log on to Myrtlebeachdisasterrelief.com. The page is handling assistance requests and acts as a volunteer signup page. Donations can be made to the Waccamaw Community Foundation, which is helping coordinate local organizations.