Darlington County Hurricane Damage Tops $500,000
Darlington County homes and businesses suffered over $500,000 in damages from Hurricane Florence, according to preliminary estimates announced at Darlington County Council’s Oct. 1 meeting.
Molly Odom, the county’s Emergency Management Coordinator, updated Council members on damage assessments by county staff and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) representatives. Odom said local assessors first took to the streets on Monday, Sept. 17 to make sure no occupied homes were isolated by water. Four days later, local teams walked neighborhoods and asked homeowners about damages to their property.
County officials met with FEMA and SCEMD (South Carolina Emergency Management Division) on Thursday Sept. 27 to request individual assistance funding, which would allow homeowners to repair wind and water damage to their homes. State and federal reps toured the county and saw a sampling of damaged properties the county had identified.
From these properties, FEMA determined 12 homes had been “affected” (with waterline around the crawlspace), 32 homes had “minor damage” (water in the living space), 21 had “major damages” (waterline rose at least 18 inches into the home), and 1 home was marked as “totally destroyed.”
“Those numbers do not reflect our actual damages. That’s just a sampling of what FEMA found for them to make a determination…as of this afternoon, FEMA had not made a decision on a declaration yet,” said Odom.
The following day, Tuesday Oct. 2, FEMA approved individual assistance status for Darlington County and Florence County, clearing the way for residents to request home repair reimbursement. For more on how to register, call 800-621-3362 or visit www.DisasterAssitance.gov online.
Darlington County identified 23 county-owned roads with damages due to washouts. Two of these roads still needed repairs as of Oct. 2, but standing water delayed those efforts. Two state roads were still closed: US 15 at Old Camden Road remained underwater, and the bridge at New Hopewell Road near the church collapsed. There is no estimate when New Hopewell Road will reopen.
Five county properties received damage: the 911 call center, the entryway at the W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center, the garage space at the Darlington Library, and the roof of the old Voter Registration building all suffered leaky roofs or water penetration, and the County Courthouse basement flooded.
Two Darlington County Sheriff’s Office vehicles were hit by falling trees. One vehicle was occupied at the time.
Odom said that the county’s greatest damage occurred at the Lake Darpo dam. An early estimate says repairing the dam will cost $120,000 for engineering, labor, and materials.
Factoring in applicants from City of Hartsville, City of Darlington, Town of Lamar, the Center Theater, and Palmetto Rural Fire Department, collective damages countywide are estimated at $489,000. Odom said this figure includes all building and equipment at the insurance deductible price of $1,000 per claim. She noted that actual damages are well over $500,000.
In coming weeks, FEMA will evaluate these roads and buildings to determine whether Darlington County qualifies for public assistance funding to repair infrastructure. If so, the county can recoup 75 percent of related insurance deductible costs.
Darlington County has already received a FEMA declaration for emergency protective measures, which will reimburse 75 percent of the county’s estimated $130,000 in emergency personnel and equipment costs.
SCEMD will schedule an applicant briefing later this month, then Darlington County staff will follow up to see if the county qualifies for public assistance funding.