FEMA closes South Strand disaster relief center - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

FEMA closes South Strand disaster relief center

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach was declared a federal disaster area a little longer than a month ago. FEMA came in and set up disaster recovery centers…but now some are closing.

Disaster assistance help remains available after disaster recovery centers in Myrtle Beach, but FEMA will be closing the South Strand Disaster Relief Center because of lack of visitors.

“I know recent days the numbers have dropped off a little bit,” said Bill Penrod, DRC Manager. “So I guess upper management feels it’s best for us to serve people in areas that have more participation.”

Penrod said since they opened on October 13 they have seen less than 500 people.

Representatives from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies will be at this center today until 7 p.m. to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest loans.

Since it’s been advertised the DRC will be closing, Penrod said more people have come in. He said most of his staff has been transferred out to busier DRCs. “It’s unfortunate," he said. "I know we’ve had some people come in and say they didn’t know we were here.”

Ray and Christine Keasler were one of the few people in the DRC. They said they came to get questions about appealing denials for flood damage.

“Well after all the turmoil after the storm, I totally forgot they opened an office here,” said Christine Keasler. “And I read in the paper they were closing tomorrow. I never heard exactly why we weren’t ineligible and wanted to know how to attack the appeal process.”

Their damage wasn’t extreme, but they tell me they had about a foot of water around the base of their home. They now fear mold will begin to grow and came to the DRC to get more information on that as well.

“I’m worried about what may happen later with the mold and everything that’s in the walls, if there’s any, and what might happen to have to fix it at a later time, said Ray Keasler. “The FEMA people were full of a lot of good information.”

According to FEMA, two DRCs will remain open in Horry County. At the North Strand recreation center and in Conway at the Government and Justice center.

Flood survivors have up to 12 months from the date they registered with FEMA to submit insurance information for review. FEMA cannot provide money to individuals or households for losses already covered by insurance. 

Applicants who wish to appeal a decision may do so in writing within 60 days from the date the ineligibility letter was received. Guidelines for appeals can be found in the Applicant’s Handbook sent to everyone who registered with FEMA. 

Applicants also can get help by calling 800-621-3362. Survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities should call 800-462-7585 (TTY); those who use 711/VRS can call 800-621-3362. Lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

For the latest information on South Carolina flood recovery operations, visit scemd.org and fema.gov/disaster/4241.

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