On Friday, President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for the state of Texas where death toll continues to rise due to a shocking winter storm.

According to a White House press release, President Biden “ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms beginning on February 11, 2021, and continuing.” The assistance includes federal funding and 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.” It further says, “Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures statewide.”

Power has been restored in millions of homes across Texas though the death toll continues to rise. Heart-wrenching stories are emerging from the traditionally warm weather state. Cristian Pavon Pineda, an 11-year-old boy who had never seen snow, went out to play and later died of suspected hypothermia, reported the Houston Chronicle that also reported the story of 75-year-old Vietnam war veteran Carrol Anderson, who died when he went to fetch his emergency portable Oxygen tank from his truck. Anderson had used up his original supply, and his provider was unable to send him fresh stock due to the winter storm.

Meanwhile, the US National Guard, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Military continued to provide emergency response including helping stranded motorists, supplying water, blankets and other supplies to affected people.

Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, addressed the media today and said, “Bottled water is our top priority,” adding “2.2 million bottles have been distributed.” He further informed that 250 ready-to-eat meals have already been ordered and 5 million more will be ordered. Department of Public Safety is continuing to patrol roads.

Many humanitarian and aid organizations are also helping Texans cope with the unexpected weather.

*Feature Image courtesy Incident Information Texas A&M Forest Service Twitter account.