Local Relief Group Turned Away from SC Disaster Area
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (ERICA LUNSFORD, WTAT-TV) — Natural disasters call for people to come together and help each other out. But a Lowcountry man says he and other members of the Triton Relief Group were denied access to help victims of Hurricane Florence.
Leader Jamie Hough says this situation is not going to stop him from helping out other and carrying out water rescues.
He feels if anything, this situation makes him want to help even more.
With the threat of Florence hitting the Lowcountry last week, Hough knew it was time to gear up.
But this time around things are more difficult than usual.
“Unfortunately this go-round we were met in almost every city and town we went to – which was more than half a dozen – we were met with a bunch of resistance, red tape resistance,” he explained.
Hough said what he heard from Horry County firefighters was something he never expected.
“Finally he said, ‘we don’t want y’all to come in here. We don’t want y’all to come get in the way.’ I said look, I’m trying to get in the way – we have a group of guys who are qualified to come help,” he recalled.
With his partners, Hough also reached out to Dillon County — again, they were denied.
An official with the non-profit helping out the county said he is unaware with Hough’s offer.
“I am not familiar with that incident. But if someone was to come to me at that point and say ‘hey, we’re here and we want to help,’ then at that point I have to ask for proper credentials at that time and then have to wait on a volunteer coordinator to verify that and then we may not need that particular skill at that time,” said Pierre Brewton, PIO for Upstate Incident Management Team
Hough is no stranger to high-water rescues. He spent weeks in Louisiana and Texas helping people during Hurricane Harvey.
“I came to the realization today — since you are not going to come in there and let me pull people out in a boat, who about I just come to the shelter that I read about online that doesn’t have any food for 200 people.”
Hough said he has received a large number of donations to help prep food for people in need and will start working on those preparations soon.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division sent out an alert on Monday asking volunteers to not self-deploy. They suggest helping your neighbors and community first.