Galveston County residents face water and electricity issues

Galveston County officials are calling for a refrigerated truck to hold the expected influx of bodies of people who have died from subfreezing temperatures.

GALVESTON, Texas – Most of Galveston County is without power, as of Wednesday. County Judge Mark Herny said if he knew millions of residents would be out of electricity he would have ordered an evacuation days before the storm.

Galveston County Office of Emergency Management officials said more than 62% of the county remains without power, which is a small improvement from 70% earlier in the day.

Henry said the state of Texas has been keeping him in the dark.

“We got nothing other than it’s shut off and it’s not coming back for days,” he said.

While the local energy companies estimated full electricity for the county by Saturday.

“if we had been told accurate information Sunday we would have told people to evacuate,” Henry said.

The Vela family, which includes seven people, more than dozen dogs and a litter of puppies, said that they could use some heat. The family has been without electricity for three days, and they had to shut off their water due to a busted pipe on Wednesday.

Thanks to their neighbor, they’re powering a tv, small heater, and kitchen light.

“Our neighbors are giving us electricity through their generator,” said Jonathan Vela.

The accessibility of water is becoming a big issue for the county, as a result of the winter storm. Many residents are either without running water or urged to boil water if they have it for safety.

“The new issue we’re facing is water,” said Henry. “The entire city of Galveston is out of water. Other cities have had difficulties with their water and are issuing boil water notices.”

Henry said he has requested bottled water and other resources for those cities from the state.

The Galveston County Medical Examiners Office also put a refrigerated truck outside its building to store bodies. There have been at least 20 deaths since the start of the storm, though those deaths haven’t officially been linked to the weather.

Judge Henry said he fears the death toll will increase the longer people sit at home in the cold.

“You got so many people that live by themselves. No one had missed them yet,” he said.

Henry said vaccination efforts had to be put on hold due to the frigid temperatures this week but said vaccination could resume in the county as early as Thursday.