RETURN AND INITIAL RECOVERY INFORMATION FOR RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY HURRICANE MATTHEW
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Residents affected by hurricane Matthew should continue monitoring local news sources and verified, official social media feeds for the most up to date information about communities and what to do when returning home.
At the request of local officials, Governor Nikki Haley has lifted all evacuation orders for zones along the South Carolina coast. Residents should remember the effects of Hurricane Matthew will continue for days, if not weeks.
Local public safety officials manage the entry to previously evacuated communities. Residents should follow the directions provided by county and local governments to safely return to their homes.
Traffic/Road Conditions upon Re-Entry
Returning residents should prepare for extended travel times and congestion. For real-time traffic information, visit 511sc.org.
State and local officials are monitoring the Edisto, Little Pee Dee, and Waccamaw Rivers, among others.
In Colleton County, the Edisto River is expected to crest on Wednesday at 14.5 feet. As water rises, conditions around the river will become hazardous. If you are near the Edisto River, prepare for flooding and secure property now. Make plans to prepare for an evacuation ahead of Wednesday.
In Horry County, state and local officials are monitoring the Little Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers. As of Monday morning, the Waccamaw River was at 15.16 feet. Officials expect the river to crest at 16.4 feet by the end of this week. The Little Pee Dee River in Galivants Ferry was at 11 feet Sunday morning. It is expected to crest at 13.1 feet. Both of these rivers will be higher than the water level recorded during the October 2015 floods. Take precaution now to secure belongings if you live near these rivers.
Goods & Price Gouging
Residents can expect some difficulties finding basic supplies upon re-entry. It’s not that these goods aren’t available, but it’s difficult to transport them to stores. If you suspect price-gouging, report all instances to the South Carolina Attorney General’s office. Visit http://www.scag.gov/archives/29112 for information.
Sightseeing in Storm-Damaged Areas
People should not travel to storm-damaged areas for the purposes of sightseeing. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources officers will be conducting river sweeps to make sure no one is on flooded waterways.
Homeowners can call 1-800-451-1954 request volunteers from Helping Hands to assist with debris clean up and mold mitigation.
Power Outages & Generators
There are currently more than 500,000 people without power across the state. Power crews will assess electrical damages in certain areas once evacuation orders have been lifted and they can safely travel to inspection sites. For questions regarding power, please contact your local power provider.
Do not operate generators out of garages as that increases the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Boil Water Advisories
For information on boil water advisories, visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) website, scdhec.gov.
Private well assistance
The S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control is waiving testing fee for private wells. Residents with questions about private wells should call 803-898-4312.
Ways to Volunteer and Donate
Please see the information below to volunteer or donate in support of Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts. For additional information, please call 1-888-585-9643.
South Carolina greatly appreciates all offers to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew with clean-up and recovery efforts. We are still assessing damage and will know more about our volunteer needs as we move forward. First, think about volunteering within your own networks. If you are a member of a church or civic group, find out if plans are being made to respond to relief efforts. If you are not affiliated with a group, please register at VolunteerSC.org. Volunteer opportunities will be added as officials move in after the storm to assess the damage and registering will allow us to best match volunteers with the appropriate opportunities. Please keep in mind that many volunteer opportunities require specialized training, and we want to ensure all volunteers are safe as we begin recovery operations. SCEMD’s website has a list of volunteer organizations at scemd.org.
We are still assessing damage and will know more about our needs as we move forward. Because donations of products for disaster relief require transportation, warehousing, and distribution of the products, the most effective offer is a monetary donation through the One SC fund. This fund is used to support nonprofit organizations providing relief and recovery assistance to disaster victims and will allow us to direct those funds to charitable organizations assisting South Carolina victims. These organizations will use your donation to purchase - locally if possible - the exact items needed to meet the needs of the victims.
We also encourage you to donate locally to food pantries, faith-based organizations, and other non-profits.
We are not directly accepting used clothing items. However, we are requesting that any in-state clothing donations be taken to a charitable organization within your community. These organizations already have the resources to make the best use of clothing donations.
We are requesting that South Carolina citizens take collected food items to local food banks or other charitable organizations. These local food banks and organizations work with us and will distribute food to the victims in South Carolina and other impacted areas. If you will be conducting a food drive for disaster relief, please contact the South Carolina Food Bank Association to get information on most-needed items.
Follow @SCEMD on Facebook and Twitter for continuous information about Hurricane Matthew recovery updates.