President Biden declares major disaster in Texas after winter storm

President Joe Biden arrives at Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport to visit a Pfizer manufacturing site, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Portage, Mich. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Texas after extreme winter weather caused power outages and water disruptions for millions in the state.

Gov. Abbott requested the Major Disaster Declaration on Thursday, requesting individual assistance and public assistance in each of the state’s 254 counties. Abbot requested the Major Disaster Declaration in order to provide individual assistance, public assistance, and hazard mitigation for individuals and communities impacted by the severe winter weather.

The Biden administration approved the request for individual assistance in 77 counties and for public assistance in all 254 counties.

“I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state,” said Abbott in statement. “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. The funds provided under the Major Disaster Declaration may provide crucial assistance to Texans as they begin to repair their homes and address property damage.”

The following counties approved for individual assistance include:

Angelina, Aransas, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Falls, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, and Wise Counties.

Disaster assistance may include financial assistance for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, according to FEMA.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in these counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585.

When individuals apply for assistance, they should have the following information readily available, according to FEMA:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security number, if available
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to businesses, homeowners and renters. To apply, call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.


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