President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Texas after a severe winter storm that left millions of people without power. The storm also produced a big water crisis wich affected more than 15.1 million people, more than half the state. Biden’s action makes federal funding available to communities across 77 counties, including hard-hit Harris County, where Houston is located. This unlocks grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster “I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement.
At least 22 people in Texas have died in connection to the winter storm. Frozen pipes hampered the Killeen Fire Department’s efforts to get an overnight blaze at the Hilton Garden Inn under control. The winter storm has also left parts of other states without power: Mississippi reported more than 62,000 outages Saturday afternoon while Louisiana is grappling more than 35,000 outages. Biden plans to visit Texas as soon as next week to assess the federal response.