South Carolina receives federal emergency declaration

ashain@thestate.comFebruary 12, 2014 

Gov. Nikki Haley talks about the state's emergency reaction to the winter storm covering much of South Carolina on Wednesday with S.C. adjutant general Robert Livingston (left) and interim state DOT director Christy Hall.

BY ANDY SHAIN — ashain@thestate.com

— South Carolina received a federal declaration of emergency on Wednesday evening -- meaning the state can request generators, bottled water, meals and other services from Washington, D.C., if needed.

President Barack Obama approved S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley's request for an emergency declaration she submitted early Wednesday.

South Carolina was the only state in the country without a federally declared state of emergency since 2006 until Wednesday, S.C. emergency officials said.

The president directed the Federal Emergency Management Administration to "coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures," according to news release from The White House.

The federal government would pay for 75 percent of the services, while South Carolina would pay for the rest.

Haley said at a news conference at the state's emergency operations center that her request was “really more precautionary just in case we need generators, (food), water, anything to supplement what we already need. It is more of me just making sure we’re ahead of the curve.”

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Haley said the state estimates more than 600,000 people could lose power for up to two weeks. She requested help for "stranded motorists, isolated citizens, medical emergencies, downed trees, road debris, and numerous and widespread power outages."

In her letter, Haley noted the state "continues to recover" from last month's winter storm, noting the state has spent more than $2 million to pay for those problems.

Haley issued a state of emergency Tuesday that activated the S.C. National Guard and a state emergency operations center.

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