President Biden to declare major disaster for Texas
US President Joe Biden is expected to declare a major disaster for Texas, more federal funds are likely to be spent on relief efforts.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed Mr. Biden has asked his team to expedite Texas’ request for a disaster declaration.
An administration officer said that Biden is also in touch with the mayors of some of Texas’ biggest cities, such as Houston, Austin, and Dallas, to ensure they have access to government resources.
Biden has said he will visit Texas as long as his presence is not a burden on relief efforts.
Around 13 million people are facing difficulties in getting clean water as power is being restored in the state. Around 60 deaths have been attributed to cold weather across the US.
Water has been cut off due to intense weather in the city of Jackson, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
What is happening in Texas?
The temperature in Texas decreased to 30-year lowers, recording -18 degrees Celsius earlier this week.
Around 180,000 homes and businesses in Texas are deprived of electricity supply. Around 3.3 million were without energy.
Apart from that, around 13 million people have faced disruption of water services as the freezing condition has damaged hundreds of water systems.
Austin, the state’s capital, lost 325m gallons (1.2bn liters) of water when pipes burst, the city’s water director told reporters on Thursday.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that all water planned for consumption – even if filtered – must be boiled as it may be contaminated.
Officials there say they are working to rapidly distribute bottled water, as well as power generators, to people in need. Breweries and other local businesses have also assisted with efforts to supply drinkable water.
On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state is providing “any and all resources to assist and to accelerate the response at the local level”.
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