AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – After several days of extreme winter weather caused power outages, pipes to burst and various other damages across the state, Governor Greg Abbott said Thursday, Feb. 18, that he has requested a “major disaster declaration” from President Biden to allow for federal government funds to assist in recovery efforts.
“Today, I am making a formal request of the president for a major disaster declaration. If granted, this will give Texans the ability to apply for individual assistance from FEMA,” Abbott said. “That individual assistance will assist them with funding to restore damage to their homes to the extent that it is not covered by private insurance.”READ MORE: ‘We Are Enduring An Absolute Catastrophe’: Dallas Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund Accepting Donations
The disaster declaration is hoped to help with some of the water damage that has been caused by pipes bursting, or homes flooding as a result of the cold weather. Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd said that his department is working through the necessary requirements needed in order to fit the major disaster declaration guidelines but that it is an ongoing process.
“Working very closely with our federal partners to make sure that the major disaster declaration requirements will be met,” Kidd said. “Remember that is by law, fiscal thresholds that need to be met, a number of homes that have to demonstrate damage. It’s been hard to demonstrate that damage. We can presume it at this point and we will continue to push that. We are in constant communication with our federal partners for the major disaster declaration.”
The governor also gave an update on the power outages affecting those across the state saying that power has been restored to “nearly 2 million homes across Texas” but there continue to be about 325,000 homes without power. However the governor said that those homes are suffering outages not due to a lack of power generation but rather due to downed lines or the need to manually reconnect the premises to power.
“As of this press conference, there are no outages across the state of Texas because of lack of generation or lack of the ability to generate power,” Abbott said.READ MORE: Travel Woes Continue Throughout North Texas With Slick Roads, Gas Stations Out Of Fuel
The governor said that he had calls Thursday with energy and water providers to explore ways to expedite the process of restoring power and water to all Texans. Chief Kidd stressed that the state is asking for more generators and continues to send out the ones available to them through state and federal agencies but cautions it is not always a simple process.
“We are asking for additional generators. We have generators from the state agencies that are going out in the field and we have generators from the federal generator package,” Kidd said. “We will continue to work that but I need to tell you, putting a generator on a church or nursing home or a hospital that doesn’t already have one and is not built for one is not as simple as going to Lowe’s or Home Depot, getting an extension cord and plugging in power.”
Though power has been restored to many Texans, there are still those left without it. Others still face the frustration of not having water. The governor assured residents that crews are working around the clock to ensure that the restoration of power and water will happen in the coming days.
“With each passing hour we will continue to ensure that your power will be restored and that your water challenges will be resolved,” said Abbott. “We know that because of the storm that will sweep across parts of Texas tonight that we are not yet out of this. But, we are close to this challenge being behind us. We will not stop until normalcy is restored to your lives.”MORE NEWS: ERCOT Says Power Able To Be Restored For Majority Of Affected Texas Residents
For those looking to help, the governor said that one of the biggest ways Texans and those out of state can do so is by helping to provide food. He directed anybody looking to help provide food to http://www.feedingtexas.org in order to donate.