AUSTIN (KXAN) – Governor Greg Abbott has declared a disaster area across south and Central Texas as Harvey hits the coast. He’s asking for resources and support from the Federal Government as Texans hunker down.
“We are going to be dealing with immense, really record-setting flooding in multiple regions across the state of Texas,” said Governor Abbott in a press conference at the state operations center underneath the headquarters for the Department of Public Safety.
The state only has around 41,000 beds in the shelters they run. State leaders agree that’s a small number compared to the two to three million people that evacuated in the past from Hurricane Rita. Chief of the Texas Department of Emergency Management, Nim Kidd, said that number is so small because state statistics show that only around 10% of evacuees go to shelters. Most rent hotel rooms and stay with family so knowing where everyone is will be a challenge.
“There are state shelters that we open and we support, there are shelters that cities and counties open and they support, there are also shelters at churches and civic organizations that they support and they have no requirement that they report back to the state that they’ve opened the shelter,” said Chief Kidd.
State emergency workers will do a head count every night but they can’t force people to stay in shelters. So numbers will change day to day over the weekend and next week.