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A New Home for the Holidays After the Flood

Dec 17, 2015
Debris outside resident Mike Parker’s home in the Gills Creek neighborhood of Columbia, SC.
Linda O'Bryon/SC Public Radio

Many in Columbia braced for what was later called the storm of the century, but in the Gills Creek neighborhood, fast action saved lives.  Like many of their neighbors in the Gills Creek area, the damage was bad enough that Mike Parker and his family won’t be able to rebuild.

A Story from the Columbia Canal: Hospitals and Water

Dec 8, 2015
Initial repair efforts at the Columbia Canal required the SC National Guard to lift giant sandbags into the breach.
SC Public Radio

When the October flood hit, two hospitals in downtown Columbia lost water pressure. The situation was critical as officials worked to restore water to the facilities.

The deadline for survivors of South Carolina’s historic floods to register for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance has been extended an additional 30 days to Jan. 3, 2016

  South Carolina storm survivors have one week left to register for assistance with FEMA. The registration deadline is Friday, December 4. Once you’re registered, you’re in the system. There is no need to register again. Register online at disasterassistance.gov or by calling toll-free 1-800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily to take your calls. Survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 1-800-462-7585.

    FEMA Mitigation Advisers Offer Guidance to Flood Survivors in Charleston, Darlington, Dorchester, Greenwood, Horry and Richland counties

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As South Carolinians rebuild and repair after the recent historic floods, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local home improvement stores have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.

DOT workers repairing bridge approach damaged by October floods.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Progress has been surprisingly rapid on road and bridge re-openings since the October floods in South Carolina. SC Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Poore says of 541 roads and bridges that were closed statewide on Oct. 5, only 80 remain to be opened.

Poore says that the agency's efforts to put workers on the ground while the rains were still coming down helped give it a head start on recovery. "I think we were as prepared as we could be, as an agency, and I think that paid off."

In October of 2015, Columbia's Four Paws Animal Clinic was underwater when the October flood hit.  There were no pets in the clinic when the building flooded.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

When the historic floods hit the Midlands in October, many small businesses, like many homes, were inundated. Ceiling-high waters in low-lying areas would seem to ruin the businesses for good. But the owners are fighting back.

Overflow from this normally small creek caused flood waters to wash out a portion of Bluff Road.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

    As flood waters continue to recede in South Carolina and the threat to roads, dams and property is diminishing, the water can still pose a hazard to the many South Carolinians who get their water from private wells. Robert Yanity and Dr. Linda Bell of DHEC say that illnesses from contaminated water can still pose a danger.

Gov. Nikki Haley in press conference at the SC Emergency Management Division. (File Photo)
SCETV

    It's been almost two weeks since the first rainfall from this month's torrential storm hit the state. And, with the exception residents and businesses who suffered substantial losses, the state seems to be back on it's feet. All major highways are open, schools have re-opened, only a few hundred people remain in the seven shelters that are still open, and Columbia's water problems have been corrected.

On Wednesday, Governor Nikki Haley thanked the citizens of the state for getting through it, saying "We know that we are coming to brighter days."

One Week Later: How to Help

Oct 12, 2015
Clean-up is underway but volunteers are still needed.
SC Public Radio

    A week after the storm that caused massive flooding in our state, South Carolinians are turning toward recovery and restoration. Thousands of National Guard troops are at work, and charitable organizations have donated hundreds of thousands of meals to people in need. Hundreds have been displaced by the disaster, and help is still needed across the state. 

Gov. Nikki Haley in press conference at the SC Emergency Management Division. (File Photo)
SCETV

   Governor Nikki Haley says that, in the wake of historic flooding, the state is now moving " from a massive response situation to a massive recovery situation."

Anyone working in working in enclosed spaces where mold may have taken hold should were masks as well as gloves.
SC Public Radio/File Photo

  Governor Haley says the shelters do not currently need donations or volunteers. Right now, volunteer help is needed cleaning up debris in recovering neighborhoods. DHEC Director Catherine Heigel says volunteers should wear work gloves and boots and get a tetanus shot if needed. She says that if you are not sure whether or not you have gotten one in the past ten years, it is safe to go ahead and get a booster. On Sunday, DHEC plans to open localized clinics in the Midlands to assist volunteers, and local health clinics can also provide shots. For more information, visit SCDHEC.gov.

 The Federal Emergency Management Agency has amended its disaster declaration for the recent flooding in order to make survivors in Bamberg, Colleton and Greenwood counties eligible for Individual Assistance. Survivors who sustained losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance by registering 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.

Secretary Jeh Johnson with Governor Nikki Haley (left) and other South Carolina officials.
U.S. Coast Guard

  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is visiting South Carolina today to meet with federal, state and local officials and assess the flooding and recovery efforts. He is scheduled to travel to Columbia and Charleston, but Congressman Jim Clyburn says he hopes to show the Secretary other areas affected by the flooding.

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Aerial view of the Charleston, S.C. area, Oct. 5, 2015.
U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann

  Major flooding is possible near the mouths of several coastal rivers. Gov. Haley warns that the flooding, expected in the Georgetown, Pawleys Island, and Givhans Ferry areas, could last for days. 

U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham says the state will need assistance beyond what FEMA can provide, and hopes to bring in federal highway dollars and block grants to help. U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn says that many of the road and bridge failures have occurred because past neglect of infrastructure. Russ McKinney reports.

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