Gov. Greg Abbott added four more counties to his state disaster declaration Thursday as the Rio Grande Valley waits for the president to issue a federal disaster declaration for Hidalgo and Cameron counties.
Abbott added Starr, Brooks, Duval and Jim Wells counties to his state disaster declaration Thursday, bringing the total number of affected counties to 10, according to a news release from U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen.
Abbott visited the area last week, where he formally asked the federal government to help Hidalgo and Cameron counties, which surpassed the $37 million threshold needed for federal aid.
Since then, staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has visited the area and conducted a Preliminary Damage Assessment that Abbott forwarded to the federal agency along with his formal request for assistance for Hidalgo and Cameron counties.
Abbott’s request for help, however, remains unanswered, prompting local lawmakers to continue pushing for aid.
On Thursday, Gonzalez sent a second letter to both President Donald J. Trump and FEMA Administrator William B. Long requesting that federal disaster assistance be granted.
“The time to act is now,” Gonzalez said in a press release. “I am calling on the administration to formally enact a Federal Disaster Declaration, and provide South Texans with the necessary tools and resources to rebuild their communities.”
Gonzalez stressed the area had been hard-hit by the June storms, which caused up to seven feet of flooding in some areas.
“This is our second letter to you on this matter, and we request your utmost attention,” Gonzalez wrote. “It is imperative to the safety and security of over one million Texans that we immediately provide the Rio Grande Valley and the Coastal Bend, as well as (other) affected areas in Texas, support and relief from the severe weather and flooding event that began on June 19, 2018.”