DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Local and state government officials visited the Lowcountry Wednesday to assess damage and offer words of encouragement to those trying to recover from Hurricane Matthew.
Representative Mark Sanford took a tour of the land, starting on Daufuskie Island and make his way throughout Hilton Head Island.
Rep. Sanford stopped into Local Pie, one of the few restaurants opened on the island right now, but it is opening shows that Hilton Head is resilient and that our businesses, residents and even neighbors are working hard to bring the island back to life despite the way it looks like right now.
There's still about 20,000 people without power in Beaufort County, but Rep. Sanford tells me that power has been restored to about 80 percent of the island, which was good news for those working to return things to a sense of normalcy.
Sanford says Daufuskie was one of the hardest hit areas, but that this storm has strengthened the sense of community in the Lowcountry.
"There were about 100 folks who stayed on the island during the storm and they were, in essence, the first to respond. There were people of all ages with chainsaws working their way clearing roads, there was a story of an 84-year-old helping a 74-year-old clear a path, just remarkable human stories of a community coming together so there's a bad side to storms but there's also a good side," said Rep. Sandford. "The tremendous amount of progress that's being made; the storm made landfall I guess early Saturday morning around 1 or 2 in the morning, and then the very next day and the next couple days, you had people with chainsaws and backhoes helping each other, that's just what I 'm struck by the most is the sense of community and the sense of individuals helping each other."
He says the assessment team from FEMA will be here on Thursday to take a look at the damage. The various federal aids will be issued to help restore things back to the tourist destination we all know.