Obama declares major disaster in SC, orders federal aid

President Barack Obama speaks after getting a briefing on Hurricane Matthew during a visit to FEMA headquarters in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. From left are, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

COLUMBIA, SC In response to Governor Nikki Haley’s request, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster exists in the State of South Carolina and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in 13 counties most severely affected by Hurricane Matthew.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program helps reimburse local governments, state agencies, eligible private non-profit organizations and electric co-operatives for certain expenses they have incurred. Federal disaster aid is not available for individual residents at this time.

On Oct. 10, Governor Haley formally requested a disaster declaration from the White House for Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Marion, and Williamsburg counties. Her request followed an assessment of damages by representatives of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, affected electric co-operatives, and local and municipal governments.

As emergency managers assess the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, FEMA could determine that additional counties are eligible to receive federal assistance.

Under the Public Assistance Program, state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the storm. The division of the remaining 25 percent will be determined later.

The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce – or mitigate – future disaster risks. Funds under this program will be available to state agencies, local governments, and certain non-profit organizations only.

Information via official press release