South Carolina is in the initial stage of picking up the pieces after being plummeted by rainfall that caused what is being called a “1,000-year flood." More than 400 roads, 150 bridges and two major interstates (I-20 and I-95) have been closed. At least 17 individuals lost their lives.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in contact with Presbyteries in South Carolina offering our prayers, presence, and financial support from One Great Hour of Sharing funds. Doug Macdonald, a National Response Team (NRT) member, lives in the flooded area and has been working closely with the most impacted presbyteries. Doug also is the state representative for the South Carolina VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and has been monitoring and receiving information from multiple disaster response sources. Below is an update Doug sent on Wednesday, October 7.

"Some conditions seem to be improving and at the same time some conditions are deteriorating.  A number of search and rescue operations continue. All the Columbia area interstates are open. I-95 continues to be closed. There's concern over a number of breached dams in the Columbia area.

Flash flooding is over with the exception of the concern over breached dams.  Water is receding in the smaller bodies of water but rising in the larger bodies of water.   There are evacuations underway in Columbia as I write this because of the dams.

Nighttime curfews are continuing in a number of the Midland area communities.  

From the Tuesday, October 6, VOAD meeting, It appears that most of our VOAD partners are doing very little except getting ready.  There seems to be some self deployment by some of the faith-based groups and nonprofits. 

I would not want to drive even familiar roads at night. As I write this there's a search and recovery east of Columbia for people in a pickup truck that drove past a barrier last night and crashed into a 100 foot long 20 foot deep road washout. 

I had about a foot of water in my family farm office /playhouse.The damage was significantly less than flood insurance would have been since our last flood in 1973. I drove to Sumter yesterday to do some cleanup and secure the site. I had to take a different than normal route because of road closures.  I returned to Florence by way of Darlington. A haircut was necessary.  There was water crossing each major highway that I traveled that you would not see at night. There's the additional danger that people will drive through the water at highway speeds. 

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. "

Volunteer work teams may be needed to help with clean up and rebuilding efforts but at this time, the Governor of South Carolina is asking that outside persons to please hold off on coming to the state. If your congregation is considering a work team, please contact the PDA Call Center (866) 732-6121 so you can be notified when opportunities for outside teams are available. Local volunteers in the area can contact the United Way of the Midlands.


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