( Image courtesy of South Carolina Emergency Division )
Hurricane Joaquin was expected to make landfall Monday, October 5, 2015. The category 3 storm was erratic and strengthening as it headed toward the Bahamas. After this extremely dangerous storm left Rum Cay and San Salvador, it veered east leaving the Bahamas in distress. With 120 mph winds, its hurricane force extended outward for 35 miles producing heavy rain and flooding in the North East.
The heaviest rainfall totals in SC were 26.88 inches. This multi-day event caused severe flash flooding along with major river flooding at several locations. Moderate to major flooding will persist across the central and eastern portions of the state. Flooding is expected to continue along coastal areas as slow water recession will likely follow.
* At its peak, over 25,000 customers were reported without power
* Statewide over 270 roads are closed along with 140 bridges.
* Over 900 SC residents have been evacuated (200 in Columbia)
* 17 confirmed storm related fatalities (with the media reporting 19)
* 18 schools systems and colleges are reported closed
* 24 shelters open with over 600 occupants.
Feed the Children is responding to this event. We are currently allocating supplies to one of our community partners with operations based in Columbia, Operation Compassion. We also are supporting House of Destiny, another longtime partner in South Carolina. We are filling orders to stand ready to support the area with more supplies as the need continues to unfold.
More aid efforts are underway. Our partners, Convoy of Hope, loaded over 300 of our Feed the Children disaster relief boxes on their truck headed to South Carolina. This was product they had remaining from the response to flooding here in Oklahoma and Texas earlier this year. Plans are still being developed to support the area through FTC Transportation but we want to make sure these shipments go to the areas that need it most. We also must ensure we send the right product to the right area, to the right people at the right time. With flood waters still rising and new areas being impacted, our timing on sending trucks must coincide with water level decline and need in the community.
Feed the Children is an organization in which communities rely on during their most difficult times. Through hundreds of shipments to our international offices and partner agencies, Feed the Children has been able to provide assistance to the areas hit hardest by past disasters. By partnering with Feed the Children and making financial contributions, one can be assured together we are making a difference. Help us by keeping a “disaster” from a becoming a “total disaster” to a family or individual in need.
To receive time-sensitive updates on potential disaster relief find us on our various social media platforms or text Disaster to 51555.
John Ricketts is the Director of Domestic Programming and Disaster Services at Feed the Children.