No FEMA assistance available for recent river flooding

No FEMA assistance available for recent river flooding

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - River water continues to fill the yards of homes along the Waccamaw River and while these smaller flooding events are tragic for the people going through them, FEMA can't come in to help.

The only way for FEMA to get involved in the flooding going on now is for Horry County to rack up $30 million in damages, Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster said.

The federal threshold for assistance is usually $6 million for the county and $30 million statewide, but because the rest of the state isn't dealing with too many flooding issues, the county would have to meet that state threshold by itself.

Webster said people are still getting FEMA assistance from the declared disaster in October.

The process for FEMA hazard mitigation grants has started. However, Webster said FEMA takes two years to even give a decision on funding projects, such as raising a house, and people often can't wait that long to get an answer.

If a house is out of code compliance, flood insurance could pay for some hazard mitigation projects.

"People in the area are looking for immediate relief, but it's just not there and there's no other programs I'm aware of as far as local government or state government or federal government that's really there at this point," Webster said.

Webster said flood insurance is a homeowner's best bet for the flooding going on now and in the future.

The county is working to get people lower flood insurance premiums. The county's community rating system, or CRS, is up for review this year. CRS ranks the county's preparedness for flood-related disasters. Webster believes Horry County will be able to move up from a 9 to an 8, which would save people money on their flood insurance next year if that's approved.

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