President Joe Biden announced that Texas is suffering from a major disaster and residents continue to struggle with the aftermath of the disastrous winter storm that hit the central and southern United States earlier this week.
As of Saturday morning, the storm has killed at least 27 people in the state, and food and safe drinking water have been provided to millions of Texas residents.
Through the Major Disaster Declaration, people in 77 of the 254 counties in Texas will be eligible for federal funding to help with disaster recovery efforts. The White House said in a statement on Saturday that the assistance includes grants for temporary housing and house repairs, as well as “low-cost loans”
Federal aid can also be used in programs to help individuals and business owners recover from winter storms.
The White House stated that if needed, other designations could be determined later.
Biden said on Twitter on Thursday that he will “work tirelessly” so that Texas has everything it needs to deal with the aftermath of the storm.
Mr. Biden also stated that he plans to visit the state under safe conditions without interfering with disaster response.
Texas has experienced freezing temperatures for nearly a week. The severe freezing damage caused by the blizzard that entered the area last Sunday put catastrophic pressure on the state’s infrastructure, leading to power outages and pipeline bursts.
Senior officials of the Texas Power Grid said that after the hurricane hit, the system has been months away from power outages for residents. On Friday, the operator stated that the electrical system had returned to normal. But even so, many people in the state are still trying to recover.
As of Saturday morning, about 7 million people (approximately a quarter of the state’s population) had accepted the boiling water proposal, limiting their access to safe water.
Of the approximately 29 million residents living in the state, there are many urgently needed supplies. Omar Villafranca of CBS News reported that 13,000 boxes of water were distributed at one distribution point in Houston alone. In Dallas this weekend, 25,000 meal packs are ready to be delivered to people in need.