Clyburn visits Kingstree for disaster relief forum

VIDEO: Clyburn visits Kingstree for disaster relief forum

KINGSTREE, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn was in Kingstree Monday addressing some of the concerns with getting relief to that area.

It wasn't a surprise for many people in Kingstree to see Congressman Clyburn in town.

"He normally comes when something happens in Williamsburg County," said Vernal Fulton of Kingstree.

He took part in a flood relief forum Monday, urging residents in Williamsburg County to register for assistance with FEMA and the SBA.

"I thought I would come today to let them know that they aren't an afterthought," Clyburn said. "They are in the forefront, at least in my concerns, and to make sure the appropriate agencies are here with me in order to respond properly."

Williamsburg County Supervisor Stanley Pasley, FEMA representatives and the American Red Cross were also there and addressed several talking points about applying for assistance.

To date, over 55,000 claims have been filed with FEMA, which equals almost $36-million approved for individual assistance.

It's a bit more complicated though, and that's why Clyburn was in Kingstree.

FEMA can only help with up to $33,000 per claim.

Some of the damage in that area, could cost more than that.

Clyburn says he needs everyone to register so that he can show the federal government the need for immediate assistance.

"It's necessary for the legislature to do the kind of assessment that they seem poised to do," Clyburn said.

"I gather from the meeting that he would like to see more support come in and maybe even get it in a little quicker," said Pearl Brown, who lives in Williamsburg County.

Clyburn said it's crucial that everyone register for help, even if you don't think the damage is that bad.

In some cases you may not see the complete damage until weeks or months from now.

"This is the first time we've ever had anything like this happen," Fulton said. "Everyone is stunned, they don't know what to do, and may panic a little bit, but it takes time to work it out."

Fulton says seeing Clyburn in Kingstree is a sign of hope, and that change could be coming in the future.

Also on Clyburn's agenda was to make sure that Kingstree isn't forgotten when it comes to FEMA.

"To me, if you think you're short on money, go to the worst communities first," Clyburn said. "Don't go to the best ones and then hope you've got enough money to get to the worst ones. That's what bothered me. That's why I'm here."

In the meantime, residents understand there are certain FEMA guidelines that need to be followed, and they continue to hope for the best as they rely on one another in the community.

Just last week the state senate started putting together a committee to study the impact of this flood.

They will work with Clyburn on the best ways to prepare for future disasters.

Clyburn added by registering with FEMA and the SBA it will supply evidence for the federal government to take action in the future.

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