Low country still dealing with effects of Hurricane Matthew

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South Carolina Emergency Responders are still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Matthew in the low country. The South Carolina Emergency Response Team remains involved in ongoing relief and recovery efforts as a result of the hurricane and flooding in the Pee Dee region. The state Emergency Operations Center was activated at Operating Condition 3. State agencies are in the process of transitioning into disaster recovery roles jointly with FEMA. Teams from SCEMD and FEMA are currently conducting damage assessments in counties impacted by Matthew to determine the state’s eligibility for federal disaster aid.

As of 4:00 p.m. Friday:

· The S.C. Department of Transportation reports as many as 155 state maintained roads and 27 bridges remain closed.

· The S.C. National Guard has mobilized 1517 personnel.

· Electric utilities report 38,375 storm-related power outages statewide.

· South Carolina food banks report a combined total 518,000 meals served to disaster survivors.

· 11 emergency shelters are open, serving 307 occupants.

· Emergency management teams from the states of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington have supported South Carolina response and recovery efforts.

Anyone with unmet needs such as food, clothing and shelter should call 2-1-1 to be connected with local relief supplies. Residents with damage from Hurricane Matthew can call 1-800-451-1954 to request volunteers from Helping Hands to assist debris and mold cleanup.

Stay updated on the latest information about the Hurricane Matthew recovery effort by visiting www.scemd.org or following @SCEMD on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay out of flood waters

Pee Dee area residents, particularly those in hard-hit counties such as Marion, Marlboro, Dillon and Florence, are being advised they should not wade or play in floodwaters resulting from Hurricane Matthew.

“With rivers such as the Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, Lumber, Lynches and Waccamaw near or at flood stages, residents are strongly warned to stay out of floodwaters to reduce the risk of infections and illness,” said Myra Reece, director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Environmental Affairs. “Floodwaters can carry raw sewage and hazardous substances picked up as they flow across the land.” Floodwaters may contain potentially dangerous materials such as sewage, agricultural runoff, and chemicals from industrial areas. Stay safe by avoiding contact with floodwater.

Avoid contact with flood water due to potentially elevated levels of contamination associated with raw sewage and other hazardous or toxic substances that may be in the flood water. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services urge everyone in contact with flood waters to follow these guidelines:

· Avoid or limit direct contact with contaminated flood water.

· Wash your hands frequently with soap, especially before drinking and eating.

· Do not allow children to play in flood water, or play with toys contaminated with flood water.

· Report cuts or open wounds, and report all symptoms of illness. Keep vaccinations current.