Orangeburg County, SC (WLTX) Three FEMA crews are working in South Carolina to perform the initial damage assessment left behind by Hurricane Matthew. One of those crews is in Orangebrug County this week. Director of Emergency Services for Orangeburg County, Billy Staley says representatives from the Small Business Administration, Individual Assistance and Public Assistance are traveling around the county adding up the damages. He tells News 19, "We had significant damages in the Holly Hill area, from flooding. which gave us substantial numbers out of Holly Hill. But in the city of Orangeburg, this is one of the hardest hit neighborhoods. We have people that the poles were falling around them as they were leaving. "
Late Wednesday afternoon, the electricity is back on, on Perryclear Street in Orangeburg, five days after Hurricane Matthew left his mark on Richard Hall's Home. He says five trees total fell on his property. He says, "The carport is completely gone. Electrical service was torn off. That was just replaced today. truck damage. I actually have a limb in my master bathroom, so that's a nice new decoration."
Also on Wednesday one of the FEMA Preliminary Assessment Teams went through the neighborhood talking to home owners and totaling up the damage. Wiliam Lindsey with FEMA tells News 19, "What we're doing is we're going around gathering all the data and all the damages, assessing everything that needs to be assessed, so we can render that data to the Governor, so she can apply or send the information to the President for a potential declaration."
If the disaster declaration is given then that allows the state, and local government, as well as individuals to ask for federal funds. If the State is approved for federal funding, then FEMA will set up centers where individuals can apply for FEMA assistance.
The say make a notebook with all your damages along with pictures ... so you have that ready for your application... when the time comes.
Hall describes the danger his family was in. He says, "One tree hit the truck as I was trying to back it up. We got into a different vehicle. The family's freakin' out, the kids are upset, the wife is upset."
Hall took his family to safety at the EOC in Orangeburg where prior to the storm, he had been working to ensure other families' safety. He's the Planning Director for Orangeburg County. But Hall says for his family, it could have been so much worse and although its been difficult, he says, Now.. they are trying to get life back to normal. He says, "It's been difficult. Fortunately we had city water so we had hot water, going and buying a generator. You now get a couple lights running, you know, let the kids hook up the x-box and the tv so they can get a sense of normalcy."
Lindsey says FEMA crews will be performing those preliminary assessments for a few more weeks.