PICKENS COUNTY — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced federal disaster assistance has been made available to South Carolina to “supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma” — including Pickens County.
The funds available cover damage incurred from the storm from Sept. 6 to Sept. 13, 2017, the agency stated.
In all, 16 S.C. counties were included in the approval: Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Edgefield, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper, McCormick, Oconee and Pickens.
“Federal funding is available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Irma,” said a spokesperson for FEMA. “Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.”
Although thousands of residents experienced power outages from Hurricane Irma, the county itself escaped relatively unharmed, according to reports from Pickens County Emergency Management. Downed trees and branches were the Upstate’s main problem.
According to the release, the county can now apply for payment of “not less than 75 percent” of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures taken “to save lives and protect property and public health,” FEMA stated.
Emergency protective measures assistance is also available to state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis, they said.
In addition, payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities (such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property) as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities is available.
Payment up to 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters is included as well.
The funds are FEMA funded, but state administered, the agency stated.
FEMA announced Warren J. Riley has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas, including Pickens County.
Riley stated additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of damage assessments.