AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has added 18 more counties to the major disaster declaration following this month’s devastating winter storms. Locally, it included Llano County.
The 17 other counties are Atascosa, Bandera, Brooks, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Goliad, Howard, Jim Hogg, Karnes, Kleberg, Leon, Newton, Robertson, Trinity, Webb and Willacy.
“Thank you to our federal partners at FEMA for granting approval for these 18 counties,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “I look forward to working with them to ensure the remaining counties in this request are approved, as well as other counties throughout our state who are in need of assistance.”
Relief — finally — for those in Llano County
Many people in Llano County were upset the initial disaster declaration did not include their county.
“I have every pipe under my home broken,” KXAN viewer Kelly Sheppard wrote us. “I’m not included in the disaster relief. Why?”
Now those in Llano County can apply for federal help for things like busted pipes or flooded homes as a result of the snow, ice, and prolonged sub-freezing temperatures.
Out of the 15 counties in the KXAN viewing area, only those in Fayette, Lampasas, Lee, Mason and San Saba counties have not yet been included in the disaster declaration. Gov. Abbott requested disaster declarations for each of those counties on Thursday, except for Mason County.
Abbott originally requested help for all 254 counties, and a bipartisan group of 27 Texas congressmen sent a letter to the White House also asking for every county to be included.
FEMA and the Biden Administration have said they’re open to more designations but need data to back it up. In a meeting with the president during his visit to Houston Friday, Texas Department of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd pointed out that the storms and their aftermath have prevented many counties from collecting and reporting data.