Businesses and residents in Orangeburg and Bamberg counties affected by the severe storms and tornadoes on April 5-6 may apply for low-interest disaster loans, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced Wednesday.

The announcement follows Gov. Henry McMaster’s April 15 request and also makes businesses and residents in Allendale, Barnwell, Colleton and Hampton counties eligible.

Six tornadoes – including three weak EF0s, two EF1s and one strong EF3 – touched down in Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun counties between 4:18 p.m. and 6:29 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5, according to the National Weather Service.

No deaths or injuries were reported as a result of the tornadoes in The T&D Region.

In Orangeburg County, 15 homes were damaged by the storms. One home was destroyed and two homes suffered major damage. The three homes cannot be lived in.

The heaviest-hit area was about five miles north of Branchville on Seacrest Lane and Greywood Drive.

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In Bamberg County, 31 homes were damaged. Of those, 23 are completely destroyed and uninhabitable.

The Hunters Chapel and Colston communities sustained the most significant damage.

No damage to homes or structures was reported in Calhoun County.

To assist businesses and residents affected by the disaster, the SBA will open Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Bamberg and Allendale counties on Friday, April 22, at 11 a.m.

The Bamberg County location is Colston Baptist Church, 655 Sunday School Road, Bamberg, SC 29003. Opening: Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed: Sundays. Permanently closing May 5 at 4 p.m.

The Allendale location is Allendale Readiness Center, 911 Main St. North, Allendale, SC 29810. Opening Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed: Sundays. Permanently closing May 5 at 4 p.m.

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Customer-service representatives will be available at the DLOCs to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20% of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain, or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 2.94% for businesses, 1.875% for nonprofit organizations, and 1.438% for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s and should apply under SBA declaration # 17402.

TheTandD.com: $1 for the first 26 weeks

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services) or emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications may be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster Completed applications should be returned to the centers or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is June 20. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Jan. 19, 2023.

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