South Carolina agency increasing manpower to speed up recovery efforts after a disaster

Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Office of Resilience helps families overcome and recover from disasters like a major flood or a hurricane.

But the agency said more needs to be done to speed up the response so people can get back on their feet faster.

After a declared disaster, it can sometimes take FEMA six to nine months to authorize the ‘Disaster Case Management Program,’ which helps get people back on their feet after the crisis occurs.

The Office of Resilience aims to reduce that gap in response time altogether.

The organization is forming the ‘Disaster Recovery Reserve Corps.’

It’s part of the new Disaster Recovery Rapid Implementation Plan which aims to greatly reduce the time needed to provide assistance to South Carolinians following a disaster in areas that have a declaration.

The DRRC is a statewide team that will be on standby across all 46 counties. This will help speed up recovery assistance faster once the disaster has been declared because they’ll be closer to your neighborhood.

This means less wait time for assembling workers and allowing them to immediately provide recovery support to families in need of help.

“The DRRC is a unique opportunity for individuals to serve their communities in the aftermath of future disasters. The DRRC will be comprised of positions in various areas including case management, construction, operations, development, outreach, eligibility, advocacy, and other various support positions. A team of Reserve Corp members will be identified in each of the 46 counties in South Carolina. Corps associates will be activated based on the location of the disaster and the specific disaster response and recovery activities the State decides to deploy.”

Disaster Recovery Division director Joe Boyes said this DRRC team fits into the agency’s mission of creating a more resilient South Carolina for residents.

“The immediate aftermath of a disaster is incredibly chaotic. The sooner we can grab that citizen by the hand and help to guide them through the process, the faster they’re going to be able to recover. We can’t really sit on our hands for six months and wait for the federal government to give us money. So this really lets us jump-start the recovery process,” Boyes said.

Terri Straka has experienced major flooding in her Socastee neighborhood.

She’s on board with measures like the new DCCR plan, that will help neighbors recover from their losses faster.

“County and the state emergency response is quick but there has to be declarations made for the long-term projects,” Straka said.

She said it’s good for people in the community to get involved with projects like DCCR because it will help everyone create and implement impactful solutions together.

“It’s crucial, it’s needed for the communities to be involved and included with these projects,” Straka said.

Boyes said the resilience team is encouraging people of all backgrounds to apply for the new DRRC positions.

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