As Texas reels from the impact of a devastating winter storm, President Joe Biden has given Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott some of the help Abbott is seeking.
On Saturday, Biden “declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Texas and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms beginning on February 11, 2021, and continuing,” according to the White House statement.
The declaration makes federal funding available to people in 77 counties. Through it, grants can be secured for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs, according to Fox News.
In a statement on his website, Abbott characterized the response as “an important first step.”
“The Governor requested the Major Disaster Declaration on Thursday for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance in all 254 counties. The Biden administration approved the request for Individual Assistance in 77 counties and for Public Assistance (Emergency Protective Measures Only) in all 254 counties,” the statement said.
“The Governor and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will continue to work to ensure the federal government provides appropriate assistance to individual Texans as well as to the state and local governments,” the release said.
“I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state,” Abbott was quoted as saying.
“While this partial approval is an important first step, Texas will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure all eligible Texans have access to the relief they need. The funds provided under the Major Disaster Declaration may provide crucial assistance to Texans as they begin to repair their homes and address property damage.”
Some said Biden was slow in responding:
I’m old enough to remember how we roasted George W Bush for the slow federal response to hurricane Katrina.
Since no one is criticizing Joe Biden right now, I can only assume he is currently in Texas leading the relief effort… right?
— Sal (@_Salvatoris_) February 19, 2021
— John E. Daly (@Hawkeyes46John) February 20, 2021
Biden’s slow response was probably do to the fact that he forgot what and where Texas is. #TheFive
— THE BULL (@Stevethebull2) February 19, 2021
Severe weather began hitting Texas last week, then produced record cold and snowfalls, damaging the Texas power grid. At one point, 4 million people were without power. The storm that hit Texas and other states have been linked to about 70 deaths, mostly in Texas, according to USA Today.
Although power has been restored to most parts of Texas, food and water shortages remain.
The water shortages — caused by power failures to water treatment plants — led to officials handing out bottled water or warning residents to boil water before drinking it.
In Austin, where the weather led to pipes bursting, city officials are distributing 10,000 cases of water, according to CNN.
“This has just been one thing after another. This is a community of people that are scared, and upset, and angry. We’re eventually going to need some better answers to why we’re here,” he said.
Adler said the full extent of the damage is being revealed in bits and pieces.
“I’m pretty sure that we don’t know the extent at this point,” he said.
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