TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday issued a disaster declaration in Texas as Hurricane Hanna was moving into the state. He also addressed complications of storm recovery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The disaster declaration was for 32 counties. It provided the authority to waive administrative rules that would otherwise hinder communities affected by the storm from getting the resources they need to recover.
He said he also was issuing a federal emergency disaster request for assistance, both for financial help as well as hazard mitigation. That would provide funds for recovery from a disaster or emergency declared by the president.
The governor also wanted to remind people that we’re still in a pandemic and as people come together in times of disaster, he asked they remember to take precautions against COVID-19 spread.
“We cannot allow this hurricane to lead to a more catastrophic, deadly event by stoking additional COVID 19 that could lead to fatalities,” he said.
Full Gov. Abbott news conference below.
FEMA and the U.S. Coast Guard have been called in to respond to storm damage. And the Texas National Guard is working to bring in high profile vehicles, and if needed, helicopters.
The Texas National Guard will also be helping with 17 mobile testing teams so that the storm doesn’t slow COVID-19 monitoring in South Texas. They’ll also help sanitize shelters for people who need a place to go because of Hanna.
Gov. Abbott also announced additional assistance from the following state agencies:
- Texas Department of Public Safety will have 390 personnel staged to respond to anyone who needs it. They’ll have four helicopters, two panes, and six boat teams. They’ll also be able to help with security.
- Texas Parks and Wildlife has closed parks along the coastline from Galveston to Brownsville and three pars in the Rio Grande Valley. They will also provide search and rescue teams, game wardens, boats and helicopters.
- Texas Department of Health and Human Services will set up medical shelters. They’ll use them for people who have medical needs but don’t need hospitalization. There will be one shelter at Freeman Colessium in San Antonio that will help 100 people and another in Pharr, Texas, which will hold 40 to 60 people.
Texas Department of Transportation worked in advance to clear ditches and culverts and are working on road closures. They're also providing high profile vehicles. The governor also mentioned a website where people could check for roads closed by debris or high water. That site is DriveTexas.org.
Texas Division of Emergency Management will bring PPE to the region.
More from 3News on KIIITV.com:
- Kleberg County Judge calls for voluntary evacuation of 4 areas, orders closure of County Gulf Beaches
- Tropical Storm Hanna continues to strengthen, landfall expected to be near Baffin Bay early Saturday afternoon | UPDATE: July 24, 10AM
- CHRISTUS Spohn Health System prepares for Tropical Storm Hanna
- CCRTA cancels bus routes Saturday due to Tropical Storm Hanna