WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for Texas which has suffered widespread power blackouts and water shortages during a deadly deep freeze, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Saturday.
Millions of residents in the United States’ biggest oil and gas producer have dealt with power outages, and nearly half of Texas’ residents on Friday had to endure disrupted water service. Nearly two dozen deaths have been attributed to the storm and a frigid snap.
The action makes federal funding available to individuals across the state, including assistance for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans.
Biden is also weighing a trip to Texas to survey the federal response to the first new crisis to develop since he took office a month ago. The White House is working closely with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican who did not initially acknowledge Biden’s November election win.
All the state’s power plants had returned to service, although more than 195,000 homes remained without electricity on Friday morning, and residents of 160 of Texas’ 254 counties had water service disruptions, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
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