President Donald Trump declared Tuesday that a major disaster exists in South Carolina and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in 16 counties affected by Hurricane Irma, but not for individuals.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program allows local governments, state agencies, eligible private non-profit organizations and electric co-operatives in those counties to apply for reimbursement of certain expenses incurred during the storm. Irma brought tropical storm conditions including wind, heavy rain and storm surge to the eastern part of the state on Sept. 11.
On September 28, Gov. Henry McMaster formally requested a disaster declaration from the White House for Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Edgefield, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper, McCormick, Oconee and Pickens counties. His request followed an assessment of damages by federal, state and local officials.
The governor's office said additional counties could be added at a later date.
Under the Public Assistance Program, state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs under certain categories such as debris removal and road repair related to the storm. Covering the remaining 25 percent of the costs will be determined later, according to McMaster's office.
FEMA previously approved reimbursement to state and local governments for costs associated with emergency protective measures taken during Hurricane Irma.
The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce - or mitigate - future disaster risks. Funds under this program will be available to state agencies, local governments, and certain non-profit organizations only. A wide variety of potential projects are eligible.