Obama signs disaster declaration to help flood victims

WASHINGTON (KXAN) — President Obama has ordered federal aid to help recovery efforts in three Texas counties after deadly floods and tornadoes ripped across the state this month. The president’s action makes federal funding available to people in Hays, Harris and Van Zandt counties.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are still assessing damages in other areas across the state and more counties may be designated for assistance. Help includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help people recover from the storms.

“I thank the president and the FEMA for their prompt response to Texas’ urgent need for a federal disaster declaration,” said Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd. “We have seen so many lives lost, homes damaged or destroyed, and communities threatened by this devastating storm system. Texas is grateful for the swift response by FEMA and I look forward to working with my FEMA partners to ensure critical assistance is delivered to Texans in need.”

In Hays County, five people are confirmed dead and six more are missing after flooding along the Blanco River washed away dozens of homes in Wimberley.

Harris County was also affected by flooding this week, and the town of Van, in Van Zandt County, was heavily damaged by a tornado earlier this month.

Gov. Abbott had also requested emergency assistance for Cooke, Gaines, Grimes and Navarro counties. The president’s order says federal funding is available to state, tribal and eligible local governments, and certain nonprofits, on a cost-sharing basis in those four counties. Those funds can be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by storms and flooding.

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