August 28, 2017 / 8:07 PM / a year ago

18 Texas counties granted federal disaster declaration - governor

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Eighteen Texas counties have received the federal disaster declaration needed to widen financial help and secure the aid of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in recovering from Tropical Storm Harvey, Governor Greg Abbott said on Monday.

Vehicles sits half submerged in flood waters under a bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder

The list includes Houston and other areas battered by Tropical Storm Harvey, such as Nueces and Aransas counties. People in those counties can start registering online and calling their insurance companies for assistance.

“We are just beginning the process of responding to the storm,” Abbott told a news conference in Corpus Christi, one of the coastal cities affected by the storm, which came ashore last week as a powerful Category 4 hurricane and triggered devastating flooding.

“We’ll be here until we can restore this region as back to normal as possible. ... We need to recognise this is going to be a new and different normal for this entire region,” he said.

He said Texas had requested all the help it could get from the National Guard, and that efforts were being made to restore services, including power in areas that “desperately need it.”

Search-and-rescue missions were still going on in Rockport and Port Aransas, which were also hit hard by the storm, the governor said.

Neighbouring Mexico has offered assistance to Texas, he added.

Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Peter Cooney

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