FEMA making assessment in Aiken County for possible federal aid

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Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stops by Aiken County to make assessments, and move along paperwork that could mean cleanup aid.

FEMA officials toured some of the damage left by the ice storm last week, but the main concern for their visit today is to go over paper work that could mean federal aid to assist with debris cleanup.

County Administrator Clay Killian says that he anticipates the county will easily exceed the requirements for a major disaster declaration. The declaration would help recoup costs of replacing trees, paying overtime, and other expenses accumulated from repairs around the county.

It will ultimately be up to FEMA and the White House if a disaster declaration is made. The federal government defines a major disaster as being a natural event "that the President believes has caused damage of such severity that it is beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond."

Characteristics that prompt a disaster declaration include:

  • beyond state and local capabilities
  • supplementary to available resources of state and local governments, disaster relief organizations, and insurance
  • must request within 30 days of incident

If a declaration is made, funding will come from the President's Disaster Relief Fund.

Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) says, these costs are sometimes passed to the taxpayer if the declaration is granted.

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