Columbia, S.C. - Governor Mark Sanford today made a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assess damage caused by this weekend's tornados. The governor is asking for the damage assessment as a step toward getting a presidential disaster declaration and federal aid for those affected by the storms. The National Weather Service confirmed 17 tornados in South Carolina this weekend, with touchdowns all over the state causing damage to hundreds of homes and millions of dollars in property damage. Governor Sanford visited affected sites in Kershaw, Orangeburg, and Berkeley counties on Monday, and will follow that up with visits to Newberry and Allendale counties today.
"As we've come to learn the full impact of these storms, one can't help but be struck by the profound tragedy it has been for families across South Carolina," Gov. Sanford said. "At a state level, we've taken a number of steps in response to these storms, and our next step is making this request to the federal government for their assistance in helping people get their lives back on track after these events. I'd ask that every South Carolinian continue to keep those affected in their thoughts and prayers.
In addition to the FEMA request, Gov. Sanford has also asked the Small Business Administration to come to SC to do an assessment of damage to determine if individuals and families can receive federal financial aid or low-interest loans. FEMA will be here to begin the assessment on Thursday. The SBA has not yet determined when they will be in SC to begin the assessment.
Governor Sanford ordered the Emergency Operations Plan be put into effect on Sunday. This action authorized the Emergency Management Division (EMD) to immediately open the Emergency Operations Center and authorized EMD to call upon all state agencies to assist in the relief effort. DOT and the Forestry Department were immediately called upon on Sunday to handle debris removal, DSS opened shelters around the state, and volunteers and faith-based groups were mobilized. The Department of Insurance has initiated emergency procedures to allow non-resident insurance adjusters to come to the state in the event that South Carolina has an insufficient number of licensed adjusters to quickly handle claims.
"In all of these efforts, I want to thank everyone in all levels of government - as well as those with churches and non-profit groups - for their work in helping those affected," Gov. Sanford added.
Today, Governor Sanford will be near Allendale at the intersection of Highway 278 and Concord Church Road at 12:15 p.m., and in Newberry County at 2:30 p.m. just south of Prosperity near the intersection of Highway 391 and Arbor Knoll Drive.