For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson today traveled to Columbia and Charleston, S.C. where he met with federal, state, and local officials, and viewed ongoing response and recovery efforts in areas affected by severe flooding. In Columbia, Secretary Johnson joined South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley, Senator Tim Scott, Representatives Jim Clyburn and Joe Wilson, Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, South Carolina Adjutant General Robert Livingston, South Carolina Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech, and American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern for a briefing at South Carolina’s Emergency Operations Center.
Later, Secretary Johnson, Governor Haley, Senator Scott, Regional Administrator Szczech and Ms. McGovern were joined in Charleston by Representative Mark Sanford and Mayor of North Charleston R. Keith Sumney, where they met with personnel at the Charleston County Emergency Operations Center to discuss the ongoing recovery efforts. While in Charleston, Secretary Johnson visited neighborhoods affected by the severe weather and flooding, met with survivors, and underscored the Department’s ongoing support of recovery efforts throughout the region and reminded residents to continue to follow the advice of state and local officials. Secretary Johnson also met with first responders and members of the U.S. Coast Guard and FEMA who have been supporting state and local efforts.
Earlier this week, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate traveled to South Carolina to ensure the appropriate federal resources were available to support the state and local efforts. On Oct. 5, President Obama declared a major disaster in South Carolina, making federal funding available to affected individuals through the Individual Assistance program. Currently, 19 counties are authorized for individual assistance. Additionally, FEMA deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to South Carolina in advance of the severe weather last week. More than 100 FEMA responders are currently on the ground, and more will continue to arrive every day to support response activities and ensure there are no unmet needs.
Individual assistance is available to many of those who have been affected by this disaster, which can help cover the costs of temporary housing, home repair, and, in some cases, rebuilding homes. So far, more than 25,000 registrations have been received and more than $4 million has been approved for housing and other needs. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the affected region can begin the disaster application process by visiting www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by registering via a web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Online registration is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), should call 1-800-621-3362.