Biden gives nod to Texas disaster declaration
HOUSTON (US) – A major disaster declaration for Texas was given the nod by President Joe Biden on Saturday. The state is reeling from the fallout of a winter storm that has left at least two dozen dead and caused rampant blackouts and water shortage.
In the biggest oil and gas producing state, millions of people have had to put up with electricity outages and nearly half of the residents are still reeling from disruptions to water service.
The top elected official of Harris County Lina Hidalgo said on Friday that there were ten fatalities because of hypothermia.
The Biden administration has made federal funding available to those affected by the calamity and it includes assistance for temporary housing and home repair as well as low-cost loans.
Biden is also mulling visiting Texas to survey the federal response to the crisis. The White House is coordinating with Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Abbott thanked Biden for giving his nod to the major disaster declaration. In a statement, the Governor said it was “an important first step.” But, he added, individual assistance had only been approved for 77 counties, not all the state’s 254 counties as he had requested.