DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are in Darlington County to help residents register with FEMA due to damages and losses from Hurricane Matthew. The centers aren't just open for people who live in Darlington County, but for anyone eligible to receive FEMA help.
Representatives are at the Society Hill Library at 114 Carrigan Street, Society Hill, South Carolina 29593 at these dates and times:
Monday (November 7, 10 am- 5 pm)
Tuesday (November 8, 10 am- 7 pm)
Wednesday (November 9, 10 am-4 pm)
Thursday (November 10, 10 am- 7 pm)
Friday (November 11, 10 am – 5 pm)
A second location is also open at the Lamar Library at 103 East Main Street, Lamar, South Carolina 29069:
Tuesday (November 08, 10 am- 7 pm)
Saturday (November 12, 10 am- 2pm)
Tuesday (November 15, 10 am- 7 pm)
Saturday (November 19, 10 am- 2pm)
FEMA started to canvas Darlington County about two weeks after hurricane Matthew, and those FEMA reps are the same people available at the disaster sites. Molly Odom, Coordinator for Darlington County Emergency Management said, "These are just stationary people, so maybe if FEMA hasn't been to your house yet you can come to them at these libraries."
Odom said numbers today show more than 1,300 people have already registered throughout the county. She explained, "Either relating to trees and wind damage and then also flood damage. Whether it was from the rain that came in or people who live near the waters that rose during the Hurricane."
FEMA representatives can either help people begin the registration process, check the status of the application, or make referrals.
Some important items to bring with are insurance info, proof of damaged home, address, and social security number. They also recommend banking info if someone wants disaster assistance funds sent directly to an account.
Emergency management says a disaster like hurricane Matthew requires a lot of work with state and FEMA resources to begin the recovery process. "There was so much widespread damage and especially in the Pee Dee area between us Florence, Marion and Dillon County. There was so much damage in this area it is taking a little longer to get certain long term recover efforts going, but that's why we have the DSA teams here, so they can go ahead and get everybody started until those long term efforts are in place."
Issues people still face Include tree damage, Odom said if someone still has downed trees to call the county office right away to coordinate with the local volunteer agencies who will come and pick them up.
Odom said, "This is a little bit different than the flood was last year, the flood came in and that was something different than what we dealt with in the past. Now this is a very different type of disaster." Odom explained that why it's taken long to set up disaster teams here.. Initially when Darlington County did local damage assessment based on tax appraisal residential damage was estimated at more than $3 million dollars.
"That number was what got FEMA in the door and now FEMA's going through and as FEMA collects this information from people registering, that's when our numbers will increase and we'll start to get firmer numbers from that," Odom said.
Emergency management is in the process of setting up an actual disaster recovery center in county limits that will have more resources.
The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is December 13th.