Federal disaster funding through FEMA was approved Wednesday for individuals and to reimburse Horry County for most costs associated with infrastructure damage from Hurricane Matthew and record-setting flooding.
Homeowners and renters can now apply for FEMA assistance for damaged homes, vehicles or other personal property.
Disaster assistance includes grants to help pay for rent, home repairs to primary residences, uninsured and under-insured personal property losses, and medical, dental, childcare and funeral expenses caused by the disaster.
Disaster victims can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. Disaster assistance applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing should call 800-462-7585 (TTY); those who use Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day until further notice.
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The initial price tag for county government, including infrastructure and expenses, is $13 million and rising, said Jusin Powell, assistant county administrator.
“We still have checkpoints being manned continuously and we still have not gotten into several areas where there is damage,” Powell said.
Officials expect it will take the river at least a week to reach moderate flood levels, at which point further damage will also be accessed.
Horry County officials aren’t waiting for the money to trickle in from the federal level, and approved an ordinance Tuesday night allowing them to draw down on reserve funding that total more than $10 million.
“Do not expect FEMA to move quickly through this process, it’s going to have to be something we’re going to have to float for an extended period of time,” Powell said.
FEMA has only paid the county $800,000 for $4 million spent after last year’s storm, but some of that is for beach renourishment funding that is still pending, Powell said.
County officials expect FEMA will cover 75 percent of their expenses, including more than $1 million to pay county workers for four days off after Gov. Nikki Haley initiated the evacuation. Those costs also include overtime plus extra pay for public safety workers.
That Public Assistance Program for the county will cover some costs to repair damages to roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities, parks and recreational facilities.
In addition to Horry County, other counties approved for the infrastructure funding include: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper, Lee, Marion, Orangeburg, Sumter and Williamsburg Counties.
The federal assistance also includes funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures.