COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The State of South Carolina and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that residents who suffered damage due to multiple tropical storms beginning with Hurricane Frances on September 6 are now eligible to apply for state and federal disaster assistance.
“In response to a request from Governor Mark Sanford, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for storms occurring September 6 and continuing,” said Michael Bolch, federal coordinating officer for the disaster. “The declaration designated the counties of Calhoun, Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Fairfield, Florence, Greenville, Horry, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter, Williamsburg and York eligible for federal aid to help meet the recovery needs of residents and business owners.”
The declaration makes residents of these counties eligible for a wide range of programs, which may include assistance with rental payments for temporary housing and grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional, and low interest loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for homeowners, renters, landlords, businesses of any size and non-profit organizations.
Homeowners who have insurance should contact their insurers as well as registering with FEMA. Federal disaster assistance may be available to help cover uninsured or underinsured losses or expenses.
Individuals can begin the disaster application process by calling the toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice. Because of the intense and widespread hurricane activity, call volume remains extremely high. If possible, try calling in the evening after 6:00 p.m. or on weekends. If you get a busy signal, please be patient and call again later. Don’t get discouraged.
When calling, residents are advised to have a telephone number where they can be reached, their social security number, a general list of damages and losses suffered, any insurance policy information or their agent’s name and general financial information. Individuals can also find valuable recovery information on FEMA’s website at
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA’s continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.