President Biden Partially Approves Governor Abbott’s Request For Major Disaster Declaration For Severe Weather, Flooding

May 17, 2024 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced that President Joe Biden approved the state’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Texas counties impacted by severe weather and flooding that began on April 26.

“The partial approval of my Presidential Disaster Declaration request is a crucial step in the right direction in helping Texans rebuild and recover from recent severe weather events,” said Governor Abbott. “I thank President Biden and his administration’s assistance as Texas continues to respond to severe weather and flooding across the state. Texas is working around-the-clock to provide all necessary resources to help Texans move forward from these devastating storms.”

This partial approval allows qualifying Texans who sustained damage to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program funding to assist with expenses such as temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses, disaster legal services, disaster unemployment assistance, and medical, dental, and funeral expenses caused by the disaster. Counties approved for Individual Assistance programs include Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties.

This approval also authorizes additional FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program resources to be made available statewide and authorizes the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program for physical and economic loss for the seven counties approved for Individual Assistance.

The Governor’s request for FEMA’s Public Assistance program, which would ensure eligibility for 26 designated counties to utilize grant funding for emergency work and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities, remains under review. The grant funding afforded under FEMA’s Public Assistance program would assist in covering jurisdictional expenses for debris removal, emergency protective measures, roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and contents, public utilities, parks, recreational, and other facilities. Additionally, the Governor has directed TDEM to work with local, state, and federal partners to ensure all other Texas counties that meet their federally-set Public Assistance thresholds are added to this federal declaration.

Governor Abbott continues to take action to provide all available resources to help support local communities from the impacts of severe weather, including:

  • Readying state emergency response resources on April 25 ahead of wildfire and severe weather threats.
  • Issuing a disaster declaration on April 30 for counties affected by recent storms and deploying additional state emergency response resources in anticipation of severe weather and flooding. The Governor first amended his disaster declaration on May 2, updated it further on May 7, and amended the state declaration again on May 15.
  • Increasing the readiness level of the State Emergency Operations Center to help support local officials with requests for state assistance.
  • Holding a briefing on May 6 with local and state officials from impacted areas and providing an update on the state’s robust response efforts in support of local communities.
  • Requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration on May 15 for Texas communities impacted by severe storms.