MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It's been two months since Hurricane Matthew hit South Carolina. The recovery stories are almost unbelievable, like the story of how Eddie Collier was rescued from his flooding home in Nichols.
"I remembered one of my parishioners' phone numbers. My wife's phone picked up just long enough for me to call him and say 'Ronny this is Eddie, we're underwater and we need help.' and then the phone quit working," Collier said.
Only two months ago, many people throughout the Southeastern United States felt lucky just to be alive.
"It was like a nightmare to me," said Alan Johnson. "I didn't know if he would make it out or not. I've seen so many dams break across the United States." Johnson was separated from his father during the flooding after Matthew. He didn't know if he would ever see his father again.
December 8 marks two months since Matthew made landfall in South Carolina. Tuesday, December 13, is the deadline to register with FEMA and apply for a loan from the Small Business Administration.
"We want to reiterate: we can't begin to assist somebody financially until we receive that loan application," said Matthew D. Young, a Public Affairs Specialist with the SBA.
For two months, elected officials, state representatives, and ambassadors on behalf of FEMA and the SBA have been traveling around South Carolina explaining how to get disaster assistance. Like Aquinas "Q" Mackey, another Public Affairs Specialist with the SBA.
"The SBA's disaster assistance is, of course, for small businesses, but not only for small businesses. It's for businesses of any size, homeowners, renters, and most private non-profits as well," Mackey said.
It may seem like Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Horry County ages ago, but after two months these town hall meetings are still being held. People are still in need of information, and still in need of assistance.
As the deadline to register approaches, SBA officials are urging people who are referred to the Small Business Administration to send in their loan application. If you apply you don't have to accept a loan, but if you don't apply, your assistance ends. As of December 7, there are more than 23,000 referrals to the Small Business Administration, but they have only received just under three thousand applications.
The message representatives from both FEMA and the SBA are trying to get out this week is to register before the deadline for FEMA assistance on Tuesday, December 13. That's next week. If you have not yet registered with FEMA and are in need of assistance, you need to do that before Tuesday. Find information on how to do this on FEMA's Hurricane Matthew page here.