Hurricane Matthew news briefs for December 29th-January 4th

7 mins read

Final pass for debris removal to begin Jan. 3

The third and final pass for Hurricane Matthew debris removal will begin Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Christmas trees are not allowed at the rights-of-way. Christmas trees can be disposed of at any County Convenience Center. All ornaments and lights must be removed prior to disposal.

Any remaining hurricane-generated debris should be placed at the right-of-way.

Leaves and small limbs should be disposed of in the same way yard waste is normally disposed.

Small amounts of Class 2 debris can be disposed of at Beaufort County Convenience Centers. Class 1 waste includes small limbs, leaves and landscape trimmings; Class 2 waste includes building materials, drywall, lumber, carpet, furniture, mattresses and plumbing.


Oyster Factory Park dumpster to be removed 

Bluffton will remove its courtesy storm debris dumpster from Oyster Factory Park on Friday, Dec. 30.

Debris dumpsters were provided at three locations after Hurricane Matthew to help residents dispose of their storm debris. The dumpsters at Eagles Field and Oscar Frazier Park have already been removed.

“The town felt providing these dumpsters was a sound investment in the community clean-up effort,” Deputy Town Manager Scott Marshall said. “As use of these dumpsters has significantly diminished since Hurricane Matthew, we feel the timing is right to have the last of the dumpsters removed.”

Residents can dispose of storm debris at select Beaufort County Convenience Centers.

Flood insurance program deadline is extended

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders affected by Hurricane Matthew, and the flooding that followed, now have 120 days from the date of their loss to file a flood insurance claim.

The extension doubles the 60-day deadline NFIP usually requires for policyholders to submit a fully documented, signed and sworn proof-of-loss claim.

The proof-of-loss is included in the claims package that documents your flood losses. The claims package should include:

• Photos or video of your flood damage.

• A comprehensive and itemized list of what was damaged.

• Receipts, if possible, for your damaged items along with any other supporting documents that show the value of what you lost.

If you haven’t contacted your insurance company, or have questions, do so immediately to begin processing your claim.

Call 800-621-3362 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and select Option 2.

For TTY, call 800-462-7585.

Federal, state agencies continue to help 

The last day for Hurricane Matthew survivors to apply for federal disaster assistance was Dec. 13, but personnel from federal and state agencies remain active in helping South Carolina recover from the storm.

Together, these agencies continue to help disaster survivors with ongoing storm-related needs and needs not met by insurance settlements.

Residents can obtain information about what kind of disaster assistance is still available by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. The line is open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. until further notice. Multilingual operators are available. Information is also available at

State gets $1.1 million for counseling survivors

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) has been awarded a grant of more than $1.1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for crisis counseling for survivors of Hurricane Matthew.

Stress, anxiety and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. The FEMA-funded Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) allows SCDMH to hire and train people locally to provide free, short-term crisis counseling to survivors who may be having trouble psychologically adjusting to the effects of Hurricane Matthew and the flooding that followed.

SCDMH crisis counselors canvass neighborhoods, go door-to-door and visit individuals and families in communities severely impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Crisis counselors make contact in homes and communities, not in clinical or office settings.

If you or someone you know is struggling with post-disaster stress or anxiety, you are not alone. Connect with a trained CCP counselor, or request that a counselor visit your home, by calling the 24-hour Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990. This support service is confidential. Multilingual operators are available.

Survivors continuing to need help recovering from Hurricane Matthew, or are in need of food or clothing, should call 2-1-1 for assistance.

Realtors are offering hurricane relief funds

The Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors, in partnership with the National Association of Realtors, is offering relief assistance to Hurricane Matthew victims in Beaufort County through the Realtor Relief Fund.

The Realtor Relief Fund will provide mortgage or rent relief of up to $1,000 to qualified individuals.

Assistance is available to qualified applicants toward one of the following:

• Monthly mortgage expense for the primary residence damaged by Hurricane Matthew or;

• Rental cost of temporary shelter due to displacement from the primary residence resulting from the storm.

Residents must complete an application and submit it with other required documents, outlined in a Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors Facebook post.

The application deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 31. The county encourages residents to apply early as the funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. All grants are contingent upon the availability of funds.


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