Gov. Nikki Haley and disaster relief officials are still trying to help victims of the October flood, even after flood waters have receded.
Costs have reached $1 billion in damage so far. Haley told the news media on Thursday her main priorities now are building up the small business community and making sure those left homeless by the flood have a home.
She encouraged volunteers, donors, and those who still need help to connect with One SC Flood Relief Fund, a project of the Central Carolina Community Foundation.
The foundation is a non-profit organization that connects volunteers and businesses with those in need. Under the fund, non-profits have received $1.6 million in grants for repairing up to 1,100 homes.
Haley praised the state for its response to last year’s flood and the Charleston church shooting in June. “South Carolinians stepped up in a way that I will forever be grateful,” she said.
Haley said her heart fell after seeing the footage of West Virginia’s recent flood.
South Carolina roads are a continued concern after being battered the last couple of years by two winter storms and the historic flood. House and Senate leaders have said they plan to seek a permanent funding stream to repair roads when they return in January. Their solution will likely include a gas tax increase.
Thirty-six roads are still closed, two-thirds of which are due to an unstable dam. The Transportation Department closed 541 state roads last fall in response to unstable roads caused by flooding.
The SCDOT is working with the Department of Health and Environmental Control on dam safety. Thirty-six dams failed in the flood. Secretary Christy Hall said the agency is unprepared to be involved in rebuilding private dams, but will be willing to recommission dams in order to reopen the roads.
The state Disaster Recovery Office will hold a series of town hall meetings from July 5-12 in North Charleston, Florence, Kingstree, Sumter and Georgetown. Officials will seek public input and share their action plan at the meetings.
We shouldn’t forget that the flood happened and that it could happen again, said Haley.
The October flood caused—
-20,000-plus displaced people
-1,500-plus water rescues
-$741 million in housing losses
-$76 million in crop losses
-$137 million in damage to state-owned roads