With rivers in South Carolina set to crest within the next couple of days, the one in 1000 year flood event to hit the state is far from over.
With most flood maps based on 100 year flood events, Terry Black, vice president of Claims for National Flood Services, expects there will be many homes without flood insurance.
“Unfortunately, in this particular situation there’s a lot of areas that were flooded that weren’t in a flood zone, that were in a low risk flood zone,” Black said.
Because of this he expects there will be disaster assistance and flood relief efforts to assist homeowners with their losses in the coming weeks. In fact, President Obama signed a disaster declaration which allows federal disaster aid to be released to the state. According to FEMA, the President’s action makes federal funding available to the following counties: Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, Williamsburg, Calhoun, Darlington, Florence, Kershaw and Lee.
In a statement, FEMA outlined how federal assistance can be used which include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Funding is also available for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Damage surveys are ongoing and additional counties may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed, according to W. Michael Moore, the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
The South Carolina Department of Insurance is hosting a catastrophe claims center today to help residents with questions and claims.
“We hope that anyone that has experienced property damage from the storm will come out to the center so that we may assist them in their claims process and help them recover as quickly as possible,” said Ray Farmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
The event will run from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm at the Shoppes at Woodhill in Columbia. Participants include Allstate, FEMA, Nationwide, USAA, State Farm, St. Johns Insurance Company, South Carolina Farm Bureau, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of South Carolina and the South Carolina Insurance News Service.
The number of homes impacted is unknown at this time, Black said, due to the expected cresting of several of the state’s rivers within the next couple of days.
Multiple dams have failed, according to Governor Nikki Haley who spoke during a press conference on October 6. Additional dams are being monitored.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) spoke in the Senate earlier this week and described the devastation:
“I’m not a meteorologist but it seems everything bad that could happen did happen. All 46 counties received federal emergency declaration. There’s been a verbal request for a major disaster declaration for 11 counties, 1,300 national guardsmen deployed, 7,000 more on stand-by. The state troopers, the entire trooper force is on the road. 1,250 South Carolina DOT maintenance employees working, 550 road closures, 150 bridge closures, 26,000 and climbing without power. 40,000 and climbing without water. Nine deaths and the economic damage we don’t know yet.”
Since his speech, the death toll has risen to 15.
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