SAN ANTONIO – Governor Greg Abbott came to Port San Antonio on Sunday to provide an update on state recovery efforts, but he didn’t show up empty-handed.
A C-130 aircraft from South Carolina also arrived alongside Abbott at Port San Antonio carrying tons of 10-year shelf life emergency water, which will be dispersed across the state to cities in need, including San Antonio.
This aircraft is one of several, and even more are expected to arrive Monday, coming from North Carolina and Kentucky, and carrying more loads of water, according to officials.
The effort is lead by the Texas National Guard, the Department of Defense and FEMA. So far, eight helicopters have been deployed with 25 missions and four planes with 19 missions to assist in the disaster recovery response in the state, according to Abbott.
A total of 162 truck deliveries have been made so far in Texas, as of Sunday, and more than 2 million bottles of water have been delivered, Abbott said. Millions more are expected in the coming days.
The governor said he’s aware of the challenges that are facing Texans right now, following last week’s dangerous winter weather.
“We understand the enormous challenges that our fellow Texans are facing right now... it’s because of challenges like that that we gather here today,” Abbott said.
So far, power has been restored to many areas across the state, but, there are still 30,000 residents without power statewide, according to Abbott. The governor said this could be attributed to downed power lines or other issues.
Governor Abbott comes to San Antonio to give an update on the state's winter storm recovery efforts.
The governor said he still expects power to be fully restored in the state by Sunday night or Monday.
In San Antonio, power has been restored to nearly all households, and 98% have had their water restored, as of Sunday morning, according to SAWS. But, many are still under a boil water notice. Those without water still may also be dealing with busted pipes or other equipment issues, which could delay restoration.
The governor said the demand for plumbers is also very high in the state, but he is working to bring in more to help alleviate the need. In the meantime, Abbott said it’s important for residents to contact their insurance company or FEMA for reimbursement for damages.
In terms of the food shortages in Texas, the governor said grocery store shelves have turned up empty across the state, as delivery trucks have been unable to get to stores due to the treacherous road conditions from the winter storm.
As temperatures begin to warm up, trucks are now able to successfully make their deliveries. The governor said he has suspended regulations to get more trucks on the roads and for more kitchens to get more food, as long as they follow public health guidelines.
Abbott also announced that a USDA Disaster Declaration has been issued to assist agriculture producers.
Another issue leftover by the winter storm is one that is spreading concern on all Texas residents — the possibility of skyrocketing utility bills following the outages.
Abbott held an emergency meeting Saturday with legislative leaders to begin the process of “shielding Texas families from unreasonable bills.”
More meetings addressing these concerns will be held this week, but Abbott said he plans to restrict electric providers for sending customers invoices at this time.
The pause in billing will give them time to address billing challenges, the governor said.
You can watch the full press briefing with Gov. Abbott in the video player above.