UPDATED | August 28, 2017 6:45 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Governor Greg Abbott said he deployed all 12,000 members of the Texas National Guard to flood and storm ravaged areas.

During a Monday afternoon news conference before heading to assess the damage in Rockport, Abbott said one of biggest needs is restoring power to areas that lost power due to flooding.

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Gov. Greg Abbott talks about state response to Harvey flooding

“We are just beginning the process of responding to the storm,” said Governor Abbott. “We are still involved in the search and rescue process. Our number one goal is protecting and preserving life and rescuing every person we can find. Our second goal is making sure our fellow Texans have access to food, water, supplies.”

Texas and FEMA will be involved in this region for a long time and will stay until it is as back to normal as possible. He said, “There will be a new normal.”

Abbott said, “I would have to grade the federal government’s response as an A-plus.” He said the storm was “if not the largest, one of the largest disasters America has ever faced.” But he says, “to see the swift response from the federal government is pretty much unparalleled.”

“I have made a state disaster declaration for 54 counties across the state of Texas. In order for it to become federal, it requires certain financial thresholds have been met.  There are 18 counties that meet the federal disaster declaration. The presidential grant triggers the involvement of FEMA.

18 Counties meet Federal Disaster Threshold









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By Monday evening, Governor Abbott added four more counties to the state disaster declaration: Angelina, Orange, Sabine, and Trinity. There are now a total of 58 counties on the Governor’s State Disaster Declaration. 

He said flood victims should go to disasterassistance.gov.

Sen. John Cornyn was also at the news conference and said, “We are pulling together as one family for those who lost their lives, lost their property. Those in a bad way right now.”

He said storm and flood victims can also  call 1-800-621-FEMA for disaster assistance.

Gov. Abbott added, “There are many heroes in Houston who saved the lives of their fellow Texans. Texans helping Texans is what we do. I’m proud to be a Texan.”

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(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)