GALVESTON

Texans whose property was damaged during this week’s winter storm might soon be able to apply for disaster aid through FEMA, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Friday.

Abbott asked President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster, which would open the door for Texans to apply for aid, much like they would after a hurricane or flood.

Biden was expected to sign the order but hadn’t done so by Friday afternoon.

Soon after Abbott’s announcement, a group of 18 U.S. Representatives from Texas urged Biden to approve the disaster declaration. Early estimates of the damage wrought by the storm already were at $27 million, they said. The final tally is expected to be much higher.

“Our home state has been battered by unprecedented winter weather that has affected all 254 counties in Texas, overwhelmed the power grid and crippled our roadways,” the letter stated. “The historic impacts of winter precipitation and Arctic temperatures have left millions of Texans without power, potable water and have strained the supply chain for food and other necessities.”

U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, of Friendswood, was among the group to ask for a quick approval.

Other forms of federal aid began to reach Texas and Galveston County on Friday, including the arrival of two military transport planes carrying dozens of pallets of water to Scholes International Airport in Galveston. State officials said the air delivery was coordinated using state and federal resources.

The White House also announced it had been in touch with Galveston Mayor Craig Brown and other municipal and county leaders around the state to offer aid for immediate needs, including water.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(6) comments

Diane Turski

I hope Texans will look at this latest disaster and consider that Texas leaders claim they don't want any federal regulations, but they are the first to go to the federal government with their requests for federal assistance even when their stubborn refusal to properly regulate their own power grid is responsible for the disaster.

Doug Sivyer

Amen to that Diane!

Carlos Ponce

254 Counties in Texas - ALL affected by the Big Freeze. Yet the #WhiteHouseSquatter's administration picked only 77 counties to be declared a disaster.

Curtiss Brown

Glad you are still with us Carlos. But you bring up a good question. How does this disaster declaration stuff work. The experience I have is that the Governor's office receives requests from Mayors and County Judges which are quite detailed and specific. The Governor considers those requests and passes them on to Washington with the locally produced back-up and any other information his office might feel appropriate. I don't know if any of that material is routinely available for review. But it would be interesting to look at.

Carlos Ponce

Abbott asked for the entire state:

"President Joe Biden signed a major disaster declaration for Texas, the White House announced Saturday, after a winter storm left much of the state facing power and water shortages, in a move Gov. Greg Abbott characterized as only a 'partial' approval of his request for federal assistance.

Abbot requested the disaster declaration Thursday, seeking individual and public assistance for all 254 counties in Texas. Though Biden approved public assistance for all those counties, his declaration provides individual assistance for 77 of them, according to a press release from Abbot’s office. "

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/20/texas-gov-greg-abbott-thanks-biden-partial-disaster-declaration/4523099001/

Yesterday:

"Governor Abbott Announces Approval Of Additional 31 Counties For Major Disaster Declaration February 22, 2021 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved an additional 31 Texas counties to be added to the President's Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance. The Governor originally requested Individual Assistance for all 254 Texas counties on February 13th. On February 20th, the White House partially approved Texas' request for a Major Disaster Declaration. The partial approval included Individual Assistance in 77 counties and for Public Assistance (Emergency Protective Measures Only) in all 254 counties."

https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-announces-approval-of-additional-31-counties-for-major-disaster-declaration

So Governor Abbott asked for ALL 254 counties. Initially the White House resident approved 77. This was upped to 108. That's still less than half of all Texas Counties.

Ted Gillis

He was gone but not missed!

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