Flooding Causes Obama to Declare Disaster in South Carolina

The flooding caused as a result of Hurricane Matthew has been quite extensive in many parts of South Carolina. The destruction has been so severe that President Obama has felt it necessary to declare most of the state a major disaster area. Nikki Hayley, the governor of South Carolina, had requested that Obama make the declaration. Obama has also started the process of sending federal aid to 14 of the counties that have encountered the most destruction.

 

The reason the presidential declaration of a disaster is so important is that it officially begins that flow of money to many of the non-profit organizations that will be heavily involved in the relief effort throughout South Carolina. Local governments will also be reimbursed for the money they have spent so far in finding food and shelter for people who have been displaced as a result of the catastrophic flooding.

 

Many people thought the worst was over after Hurricane Matthew disappeared. However, that was not the case for many people who live throughout the state of South Carolina. Their troubles were only just beginning. Many parts of the state were completely unprepared for the amount of flooding they received. Therefore, these counties will be relying very heavily on the support they receive from the federal government during this time of crisis. President Obama has also authorized the activation of 1,500 members of the National Guard to assist with the relief effort throughout South Carolina.

 

Overall, Governor Hayley has been pleased with the national response to the disaster in her state. She believes that the aid being sent by the government will help to save lives. However, she has vowed to be better prepared for any storms that might come through South Carolina in the future. She said she is going to get funding to provide many of the coastal counties with the equipment they need to deal with flooding caused by future storms. She believes that being prepared is the key to limiting the damage that these storms cause. The cleanup process will be a long one. However, Governor Hayley knows the people of South Carolina will persevere.

President Issues Disaster Declaration for South Carolina

On Tuesday, October 12, 2016, President Barack Obama declared that South Carolina is in a state of emergency after Hurricane Matthew ruined homes, businesses and property with heavy rain, flood waters and debria. When the president signed the Disaster Declaration, he guaranteed that affected counties would receive federal funds. The current counties under the declaration are Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Berkeley, Dillon, Georgetown, Dorchester, Jasper, Williamsburg, Florence, Horry and Marion.

 

Federal disaster relief funds are distributed to individuals and business owners by approved nonprofit organizations and local, state and tribal government offices on a cost-sharing basis. Disaster funds, typically distributed as grants and low-cost loans, are used in a variety of ways: Individuals and business owners can cover the cost of uninsured property losses, perform home and business repairs and arrange temporary housing. The president also guaranteed that funds would be available on a cost-sharing basis as hazard mitigation efforts increase.

This disaster declaration covers 75 percent or more of the standard cost for debris removal, emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation projects.

 

The true extent of the damage is not yet known. Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency have stated that after experts on the ground complete a series of assessments, FEMA may request more aid for the current counties or extend the request for aid to other counties. Approximately 2,800 South Carolina National Guard had already been providing emergency assistance to citizens and visitors to the state over this weekend by clearing roadways. These troops were immediately activated to assist and have continued working nearly non-stop to clear affected roadways and make areas safer since October 4, 2016 when South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced that South Carolina was in a state of emergency.

 

Instead of going directly to non-profit, government and tribal offices, South Carolina residents and business owners have been directed by FEMA officials to contact the agency at (800) 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585 (TTY) between 7. a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday to report hazards that threaten public safety and request aid. Victims of this disaster can also register for assistance online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov.