Bamberg County is asking residents who experienced property damage due to last week’s storm to report the damage to county emergency services.

As cleanup from Tuesday’s tornado continues, Bamberg County Emergency Services and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division are conducting damage assessments to determine if the impacts of the storm are eligible for federal disaster aid.

Approximately 20-30 Bamberg businesses were damaged by the storm, with 10 being completely destroyed, according to the S.C. Emergency Management Division.

Furthermore, about 20 homes were affected, with one being destroyed.

Several Bamberg County and city buildings were also damaged, including the historic old city hall, a total loss; the courthouse, which had roof damage, and city hall, which had minor damage.

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Total numbers will be revised and updated as the damage assessments continue.

The majority of storm damage was concentrated in the downtown area. Once a structural integrity assessment is completed, the S.C. Department of Transportation will coordinate debris clean-up and operations.

Additionally, residents should contact their insurance companies if they have not already done so.

To avoid a duplication of benefits, all insurance must be accounted for before a determination of public, individual, or small business assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Small Business Association can be conducted.

SCEMD’s Recovery and Mitigation Section Chief Emily Bentley provided the following guidelines for Bamberg residents with tornado property damage:

• Immediately contact your insurance company.

• Report damage to Bamberg County Emergency Services at 803-245-3013.

• Take pictures of storm-caused damage and keep receipts for clean-up related purchases. Your documentation will help both your insurance claim and county damage assessments. Note: federal disaster recovery programs, if deemed eligible, focus on uninsured losses.

• Damage assessment is ongoing, which will determine federal assistance availability. If there is enough storm-caused damage to ask for federal assistance, the process of requesting and making it available can take weeks to months.

• Call 2-1-1 to be connected to local volunteer organizations for clean-up assistance.

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