WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid for South Carolina was authorized today to help families and businesses recover from the effects of Hurricane Floyd, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said President Clinton authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued for the state this afternoon. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from Floyd, which began buffeting the state's coastline on September 14.
The action follows the President's emergency declaration of September 15 that released federal resources to help meet immediate critical needs and funding for state and local governments for debris removal and emergency services, including requested emergency work undertaken by the federal government.
Under the declaration, Witt said affected residents and business owners are eligible to apply for federal assistance in the counties of Charleston, Georgetown and Horry.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, minor home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
Additionally, Witt said federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for restoring damaged public facilities in the counties of Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper and Marion. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Witt, who designated the counties eligible for assistance following the declaration, indicated that additional counties may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of the further damage assessments.
Lawrence L. Bailey, of FEMA's regional office in Chicago, was named by Witt to coordinate the federal recovery effort. Bailey said those in the counties designated for aid to affected individuals, families and business owners can begin the disaster application process on Wednesday, September 22, by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.