Biden approves disaster declaration for Texas after freezing

President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for Texas that has been hit by extensive power outages and water shortages during a deadly freeze, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Saturday.

Millions of residents of the United States’ largest oil and gas producer have dealt with power outages and nearly half of Texas residents on Friday had to endure disrupted water services. Nearly two dozen deaths have been attributed to the storm and a frigid snap.

The measure makes federal funding available to individuals across the state, including assistance with temporary home and home repairs and cheap loans.

Biden is also considering a trip to Texas to map the federal response to the first new crisis that developed since he took office a month ago. The White House is working closely with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who initially did not recognize Biden’s November victory in the election.

All state power plants had returned to service, though more than 195,000 homes were left without electricity by Friday morning, and residents of 160 of Texas’ 254 counties had disruptions to water services, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.