Biden declares major disaster in Texas

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Updated: March 5, 2021

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has 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, the White House said.

The disaster declaration on Friday came after winter storms left millions of people in Texas, Oklahoma and neighboring states shivering at home and without heat, power and water.

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At least 69 people have died across the United States due to extreme cold weather. 

A blanket of snow covers the Rose Garden of the White House Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, as President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade to the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
A blanket of snow covers the Rose Garden of the White House Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, as President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade to the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The White House said the President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Angelina, Aransas, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Falls, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, and Wise.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

“Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures statewide.

“Robert J. Fenton, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Jerry S. Thomas as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

“Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments,” the White House added.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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