President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Texas as millions of residents continue to suffer repercussions from a winter storm that has left the state in crisis. Biden’s move frees up additional federal funding that will be available to 77 counties across the state.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a statement on Saturday announcing the declaration, which will provide assistance to citizens and business owners alike.
“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,” the statement said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement on Saturday thanking the president.
“I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state. 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,” Abbott said.
According to ABC News’ local affiliate in Houston, Texas’ streak of eight consecutive days of 45 degrees or colder is the state’s longest stretch of winter-type temperatures since 1940.
Also, according to NBC News, the historic winter storm has accounted for at least 22 deaths, and more than 15.1 million people have been affected by power outages and water interruptions. More than 1,300 public water systems have been disrupted, and boil water notices continue to be in effect statewide.
“This is great news for the people of Dallas after a horrible week,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted in response to Biden’s disaster declaration on Saturday. “The damage caused by this storm is extensive, and the disaster declaration will help our city recover.”