COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Eleven more counties and assistance for public utilities have been added to the disaster declaration issued by President Clinton January 31, which brings the total to 38 South Carolina counties now eligible for state and federal disaster assistance for local governments following last month's severe winter storms, disaster recovery officials announced today.
State, county and local governments and certain private non-profit organizations in all 38 designated counties are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost of debris removal, emergency services, and public utility losses related to the severe winter storms, which hit the state from January 22 to February 1.
"Assistance for public utilities and the additional counties was requested and quickly approved after a review of additional damage totals provided by the Rural Electric Co-Op Association and county emergency managers," Stan McKinney, South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division Director, said.
Under the presidential disaster declaration, affected local governments and approved applicants in all 38 designated counties are also eligible to apply for snow removal costs, including equipment operations, sanding and salting, contract personnel and equipment, and overtime for permanent personnel. Related emergency protective measures such as search and rescue, shelter operations, and police and fire departments' response may also be eligible for reimbursement.
"Each community or applicant will be able to designate the consecutive 48-hour period that they want considered for snow removal costs," Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Federal Coordinating Officer Jim Roche said.
The 11 counties added today for disaster assistance include Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Clarendon, Dorchester, Georgetown, Lee, Lexington, McCormick, and Williamsburg.
The initial 27 counties designated included Abbeville, Berkley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillion, Edgefield, Fairfield, Florence, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Marion, Marlboro, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union and York.
The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the entire state for approved projects to reduce future damage risks.
SCEPD is currently planning a series of information briefings for local officials and approved applicants to provide materials on the disaster assistance program and its application requirements.