Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Living in hotels, shelters, with mold or other deplorable conditions is sadly the story of many flood victims in the Midlands and across the state. The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Coordination Office is using a new study to help better assist those still needing help.
Director of Operations for the South Carolina Recovery Coordination Office J.R. Sanderson and his team including University of South Carolina professors Dr. Susan Cutter and Dr. Chris Emrich have been doing research on flood victims since October’s severe storm.
They have put together a military targeting method called a social vulnerability index which shows the hardest hit areas. It’s based on FEMA’s data of households with $5000 or more of damage from the storm paired with dozens of other factors including class, income, location and more.
“When you look at areas like Georgetown where four rivers all come together right in the center of Georgetown and damaged large blocks of Georgetown county and follow it back from Williamsburg to Clarendon to Sumter County, Florence there in the north and into south Richland,” South Carolina Recovery Coordination Office Director Kevin Shwedo said. “You see a very very broad swath of individuals that were heavily damaged.”
Shwedo said this study is necessary to figure out where to put the most resources which he says is one of the first of its kind.
Previous Coverage: Long Term Flood Recovery Plans Underway
Soon Shwedo and others will being using this data to decide where to spend the more than $157 million worth of federal money for recovery.
“We will be getting out into the communities and we will brief our plan to the communities so that they’ve got an opportunity to comment,” Shwedo explained.
The office is now waiting on instruction from the federal government on how they can spend the more than $157 million to help with recovery efforts.
For now, if you are a flood victim, you can call 211 to be set up with a case manager to help with your specific needs.
Non-profit organizations dedicated to helping flood victims can apply for grants starting Monday through the One SC Fund.
Shwedo has high hopes for what will be accomplished by the flood’s one year anniversary.
“We expect that we will have refurbished a lot of homes using the volunteer organizations. We believe that we will have the money available and committed with a contract awarded to an organization that is capable of doing eligibility testing, the environmental impact statements, construction management and getting people back to normal through the construction that we’re able to pay for again, focusing on the most vulnerable people first,” Shwedo said.