The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that President Bush has declared a major disaster for South Carolina, opening the way for the use of federal disaster funds to help people recover from the effects of Tropical Storm Frances.
Michael Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal assistance. The declaration covers damage to private property from the tropical storm beginning Sept. 6. It follows the major disasters declared for the state on Sept. 1 for Hurricane Charley and on Sept. 15 for Tropical Storm Gaston.
After the declaration, Brown designated the following 25 counties eligible for federal aid to stricken residents and business owners: 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.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, 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.
In addition, Brown said federal funding will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.