US President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for Texas after suffering widespread blackouts and water shortages during a deadly freeze.
Millions of residents of the largest oil and gas producing state in the United States have faced power outages, and nearly half of Texas residents suffered water disruption on Friday.
The action makes federal funding available to individuals statewide, including assistance with temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans.
Mr Biden also considered a trip to Texas to study the federal response to the first new crisis to develop since taking office a month ago.
The White House is working closely with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican who did not initially acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory in the November election.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has dispatched dozens of generators and supplies, including fuel, water, blankets and ready-to-eat meals, to the affected areas.
.@JulianCastro and I helped out at the San Antonio food bank.
The line of cars stretched for a mile with thousands of Texas families in need of food after devastating power outages.
If you are in need or would like to volunteer, go to https://t.co/UBC1DoiWJ5pic.twitter.com/6LBOD2H0vL
– Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) February 20, 2021
All of the state’s power plants were back in service, although more than 195,000 homes were left without power on Friday morning (local time) and residents of 160 of Texas’ 254 counties suffered water service interruptions, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Early Saturday (local time), Texas power grid operators said electricity transmission had returned to normal for the first time since historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created an increase in the temperature. demand that has distorted the state’s electricity grid and caused widespread blackouts.
Smaller blackouts remained, but Bill Magness, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, says the grid can now deliver power throughout the system.
On Friday, the weather system was slowly moving northeasterly, where New England Resisters – who are much more accustomed to scouring winter storms than residents of Texas – were fighting.
Friday’s temperature exceeded freezing in Texas, and the National Weather Service forecast weekend weather between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius.
Biden trip to Texas
At least 69 deaths across the United States have been blamed on the unusual weather blast.
Mr Biden took office on January 20, promising to tackle a series of brewing crises, starting with the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the economy.
He put systemic racism and climate change at the top of the agenda, and now he’s facing storms that have not only put Americans at risk, but also delayed the shipment and administration of millions of doses of vaccines. against coronaviruses.
The Texas disaster should be a warning of the costs to people and property to come if our electricity grid, energy systems and infrastructure are left to Republicans who refuse to deal with climate change and focus solely on their enrichment.
– Steven Beschloss (@StevenBeschloss) February 20, 2021
Mr Biden has said he hopes to visit Texas next week but does not want his presence and the presidential entourage that accompanies him to distract from the recovery.
“They are working like the devil to take care of their parents,” Biden said of Texas officials, adding that he had said he would make a decision early next week regarding travel.
Mr Biden had previously declared states of emergency in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, adding the disaster designation for Texas on Saturday (local time).