Isle of Palms working to rebuild after Irma

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD)- If you have been out to our local beaches lately, you'll notice a change. The once vibrant beaches, crushed by Irma, and now it's time to clean up from the storm.

You expect the sounds of calming waves while sitting in the sand on the Isle of Palms, but instead you'll find the sounds of rebuilding. Vital dunes were flattened by Tropical Storm Irma.

Shank Collins, President of the Robert Collins Company, says, "When that storm surge came in, it was more than the dunes that were already here could handle and once those waves start hitting it, the sand's going to erode away."

The dunes protect the beach and the homes along the shore, so emergency construction is happening now.

Collins says, "It's an approximately 13,000 feet long, 6 foot high, 20 foot wide, emergency berm to try and hold back the tide and stop any more erosion from happening. There's a lot of critical areas here, a lot of houses exposed. We're cleaning up debris along the way and trying to get things back to normal around here."

The Isle of Palms is investing $212,000 for the repairs, plus another $30,000 for equipment. The town hopes that the money will be returned through FEMA, but Representative Mark Sanford says there's no guarantee.

Rep. Sanford says, "It may not be to the scale that trips the wire for emergency funding and that's going to be a real tragedy both at a community level and at an individual level for a lot of families here on the coast."

He says first FEMA will disburse money to emergency areas directly impacted by hurricanes, like Texas and Florida. Then they will turn to less impacted areas like South Carolina to see if any other money is available. Sanford says in the meantime, he is helping local cities look into grants to alleviate the financial burden of repairs.


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