FLORENCE RECOVERY: Residents recovering, rebuilding 6 months since devastating storm

6 Months Since Florence - Socastee

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The floodwaters from Hurricane Florence not only filled the streets, but also filled homes, forcing families to leave for months.

Now, six months later, people along the Grand Strand are still recovering and rebuilding.

Some people who live in the Rosewood community in Socastee are just now returning to face the damage left behind by the floodwaters. Some, however, are choosing not to come back because they don’t want to deal with another flood or just can’t afford it.

Rosewood is no stranger to a hurricane’s destruction. The community experienced flooding following Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Residents said about 90 percent of the neighborhood was flooded after Florence and the road to recovery has been difficult.

Brian Brown, who has lived in Rosewood for 25 years, found his home under four feet of water.

With the help of a trustworthy contractor and flood insurance, Brown moved back home in February. He was one of the luckier ones.

Some people are still living in rentals, while others are just now returning to gut their houses.

“This neighborhood has turned into a ghost town, you know. There are people that are starting to buy the houses, but a lot of people, including myself, are worried about the flooding again. It seems to be getting worse and worse every year, and nobody can tell us how to fix it." Brown said. "They can only tell us what isn’t the problem. Draining won’t do it, dredging won’t do it, nothing will do it, but what will? That’s what I’m concerned with; what will fix it?”

The city of Conway was also another area hit hard by the floodwaters Florence left behind. The city was allotted about $11.3 million from FEMA for its flood buyout program, which allows people to sell their homes to the city using FEMA money to get out of harm’s way.

So far, 16 properties have been purchased and officials expect 30 to 40 more to be bought, if everything goes as planned.

Right now, many people want solutions so they don't have to experience flooding again.

“I’m really hoping that the Corps of Engineers can figure out a way to stop the flooding as far as they talked about channels for many, many years, putting one up in North Myrtle Beach that would relieve the river. But that’s been something I’ve heard for, I don’t know how many years now; they just got to do something about it,” said Brown.

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