Dozens of Conway homes damaged despite being outside flood hazard zones

Dozens of Conway homes damaged despite being outside flood hazard zones

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Weeks after flooding started in Conway, hundreds of residents are accessing the damage to their homes.

On Friday, residential streets were filled with the stench of receding flood waters. Damaged wood and furniture littered the curbs. Neighbors wore rain boots, face masks and gloves as they helped one another gut what remained of homes.

This scene is all to familiar for neighborhoods throughout the city in the wake of Hurricane Florence and rising river waters.

Approximately 360 houses are damaged throughout the city, according to preliminary inspections by city officials. This number is expected to rise as more inspections are competed. A map of the damage reveal residents off of Sherwood Drive near the Crabtree Swamp suffered the most.

“Every floor is just damaged - very heavily damaged - and there was a little bit of furniture that was left in there that was good, beautiful furniture. It’s ruined," Conway resident Mary Phillips said about her property.

Phillips measured 21 inches inside her house during the flood.

Dozens of Conway homes damaged despite being outside flood zones

When comparing the damage areas with Federal Emergency Management Agency flood zones, a majority of the properties were located in zone X. Zone X is the least at-risk area. It is also the zone where homeowners are not required to purchase flood insurance.

Now, many in the area are struggling to decide what to do without many financial options or the energy to rebuild.

Taylor Newell, Conway’s public information officer, said the city plans to look into the zones with state and federal agencies. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources representatives will join Conway inspectors on Monday.

“It’s a sad situation but maybe it will make a lot of people reevaluate things, do some things different, better," Phillips said.

Newell said the flooding will likely spur future conversations on flood zones, building inspections, and infrastructure.

After Hurricane Matthew, Phillip’s house qualified to be bought by Conway under FEMA’s buyout program.

It was an option she was holding off on accepting. After seeing the damage from Hurricane Florence, she decided to accept it.

“There’s going to be a next time but I do fear that it will be worse than this," Phillips said. “Maybe this one house will help keep the water out that much from somebody else. I don’t know but I don’t have many choices.”

The house has been in Phillips' family her whole life. While she said she will miss the memories, she is fortunate to have somewhere to go.

“I don’t know what my friends and neighbors are going to do," Phillips said. “Unfortunately, some are not going to recover."

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