Gov. Nikki Haley on Matthew: 'We've made a lot of progress' - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Gov. Nikki Haley on Matthew: 'We've made a lot of progress'

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Gov. Nikki Haley gave her latest Matthew update on Thursday. (Source: WIS) Gov. Nikki Haley gave her latest Matthew update on Thursday. (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said progress cleaning up after Hurricane Matthew continues to move forward five days after the storm made landfall in the Lowcountry. 

''As you can see we've made a lot of progress," Haley said at a news conference Thursday.

Haley said she is in the process of trying to get 12 more counties to be declared disasters after the White House declared 13 to be eligible for disaster aid that would be used to clean up portions of the state affected by the storm.

RELATED: See photos of Hurricane Matthew damage from around the Midlands.

As cleanup continues, evacuees are finally beginning to go home. Four islands closed off after the storm made landfall are now back open. Mostly all bridges leading to the coast are now all clear as well.

However, 11 shelters remain open -- mostly in the Pee Dee and Beaufort counties -- and 372 people are using them. 

But now the focus, according to the Haley administration, has turned to cresting rivers. The Waccamaw River has caused state leaders to evacuate Bucksport as officials are keeping a close eye on the river as it is expected to continue to rise over the weekend.

The Little Pee Dee River, meanwhile, has just now begun to fall.

On other fronts, the number of power outages for the state has dropped considerably since the weekend. About 75,000 people statewide still do not have power.

Haley once again asked for patience from state residents as the line crews, first responders, and road workers continue to do their jobs.

"Just understand that while they’re out there trying to save and get you back into your home, they are going through their own challenges in that same way and so we just want to give them the utmost respect and gratitude as we can," Haley said.

Despite the good news about continued recovery efforts, Haley announced that one more person died as a result of the storm, raising the state's death toll to four.

Copyright 2016 WIS. All rights reserved. 

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