WMBF Investigates: 2017 Hurricane response leads to FEMA funding - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

WMBF Investigates: 2017 Hurricane response leads to FEMA funding freeze for local counties

Long-term recovery funding for the 2015 floods and Hurricane Matthew is frozen. Source: FEMA Facebook page Long-term recovery funding for the 2015 floods and Hurricane Matthew is frozen. Source: FEMA Facebook page

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Emergency managers in South Carolina are expecting a “slight delay” in recovery funding from the federal government because of a freeze in place after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

A FEMA spokesperson tells WMBF News the top priority is making sure there are necessary resources for the U.S. Virgin Island, Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland to meet immediate needs of disaster survivors.

FEMA implemented what it calls Immediate Needs Funding guidance on August 28. It prioritizes funding to current disasters and restricts long-term repair and rebuilding. In this case, that means local recovery efforts after the floods of 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The WMBF Investigates team obtained data from South Carolina Emergency Management that shows how much is owed to Horry, Marion, Marlboro, Florence, Dillon and Darlington counties.

-Horry County: $15,768,913.76 for Matthew, $2,115,840.85 for 2015 flood
-Florence County: $2,258,697.24 for Matthew
-Darlington County: $488,131.71 for Matthew
-Marion County: $451,462.66 for Matthew
-Dillon County: $302,237.85 for Matthew
-Marlboro County: $8,354.89 for Matthew

A spokesman for SCEMD explains this does not include individual assistance from FEMA and is money owed mostly to county governments who are working to be reimbursed for expenses already paid on things like clean up after the storms. These expenses also include “permanent work” like rebuilding infrastructure.

The spokesman said a more specific timetable can’t be set on getting that funding because “it is completely dependent on recovery in Texas and Florida.”

He called the disaster recovery process a long one, noting Hurricane Hugo recovery officially ended in 2006, 17 years after the storm.

State emergency managers will be in Horry County Wednesday to aid in the Hurricane Irma damage assessment. This will determine if people in South Carolina counties are eligible for FEMA individual assistance. That work started Tuesday in Hampton and Oconee Counties and was also requested in Charleston, Jasper and Georgetown Counties.

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