President declares disaster in three Texas counties

By UPI Staff   |   March 20, 2016 at 10:45 AM

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama on Sunday declared a major disaster in three Texas counties following severe storms earlier this month that spawned tornadoes and flooding.

The declaration covers Orange, Newton and Jasper counties in southeast Texas.

Residents can now receive federal grants they can use for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and programs to help individuals and business owners recover, 5NBCDFW.com reported.

Federal funding also is available to the state and eligible local governments and some private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in the counties of Jasper, Newton, and Orange, the White House said.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. The worst flooding occurred along the Sabine River along the border between Texas and Louisiana - the worst flooding since 1884. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested the federal declaration on Friday and said at the time that more counties may be added later.

"I would like to thank FEMA for their quick response to Texas' request for individual and public assistance to Texans affected by severe weather," said Abbott. "We are working with our local partners to ensure life safety needs continue to be met and with our federal government partners to ensure Texans receive all eligible assistance they need to recover from, and ultimately surmount, the challenges posed by the flooding in Southeast Texas," Click2Houston reported.

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