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Gov. Perry issues disaster declaration for state; seeks federal assistance

Austin, TX –

In a letter to Pres. George W. Bush, Gov. Rick Perry today asked the federal government for federal emergency assistance as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Perry also issued an emergency disaster declaration for the state of Texas to free up resources to deal with the existing challenge of providing services to tens of thousands of storm victims who fled Louisiana.

"Hurricane Katrina, a disaster for our neighboring states, has created emergency conditions in Texas that will require all available resources of both federal and state governments to overcome," Perry said. "We will do all we can as a state and a people to help our neighbors to the East who have lost so much."

Perry has asked the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to identify all vacant income eligible housing units for use by refugees. TDHCA has sent a letter to the IRS requesting a waiver for the use of Housing Tax Credit units for transient use by the Hurricane Katrina disaster victims. So far 7,000 units have been identified east of I-35.

Perry has asked that, once available units are identified, FEMA to distribute vouchers to victims requiring housing. Information on voucher distribution will be disseminated through the media and through briefings on site at the Astrodome. Written notification from the federal government is pending at this time. The state of Texas is also partnering with the Texas Apartment Owners Association to identify vacant units which will also be handled through the FEMA voucher process.

09/01/05 UPDATE

- Gov. Perry agreed to provide shelter to an additional 50,000 Louisianans.

- The Governor has talked with San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolf, Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher and they have agreed to shelter 50,000 of our neighbors from Louisiana in San Antonio and Dallas.


- 48 shelters available throughout the State

- 22 of which are open


- HHSC field offices will extend office hours as needed to help clients with such needs as Medicaid and expedited Food Stamp benefits, as well as referrals to other federal, state and local resources offering assistance.

- HHSC has provided Texas pharmacies with information on how to provide assistance to Louisiana residents on Medicaid who need to fill their prescriptions in Texas.

- Louisiana residents with Food Stamp benefits can use their electronic benefits cards at many large retailers including HEB, Kroger and Wal-Mart.

- HHSC's emergency services program is working to provide water and ice to Texas sites housing refugees.

- The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is providing assistance with the placement and monitoring of Louisiana foster care children as needed, including 49 children from a New Orleans facility.

- The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services is coordinating the use of available nursing facility beds on an as needed basis.

- The Texas Department of State Health Services is working to provide Louisiana clients on the Women, Infants, Children Program with access to their food and nutrition benefits in Texas.

- Louisiana storm victims can dial 2-1-1 for around-the-clock information about evacuations, shelters and other resources. Due to the uncertainty of cell phone access from providers outside of Texas, the 2-1-1 Texas system has implemented a toll-free number, 1-888-312-4567, for disaster information.


- Citizens of Texas have inundated us with offers of assistance. We are in the process of establishing protocols to maximize these private capabilities.


- The Harris County Sheriff's Office, Houston Police Department, and Department of Public Safety have instituted a security plan at the Astrodome.

- DPS will provide additional security resources, if necessary.

Deployed Texas Task Force #1

- TF1: 80 Search and Rescue

- 35 Person Water Rescue Team, which has made 1100 rescues

- 8 UH-60's Blackhawks with Search and Rescue capability

- 2 CH-47 Chinooks

- 1 C-23 STOL (short take off and landing)

- 1 C-26 FLIR (forward looking infrared radar)

- 3 C-130 Cargo Aircraft

- 1 Sat Com Package (Superdome)

- 50 Game Wardens with 50 trucks and boat

- 4 heavy equipment material transport trucks

- 50 Ambulances

- 1 IMT 60 persons (incident management team)

- LNO team Baton Rouge (liaison officer team)

- 314 Military Police

- 130 Combat Engineers

- 235 Forward Support Battalion

- 50 ANG Spears Package

- 80 Medical Personnel


- 1 Tanker Airlift Control Element (TALCE)


- 5 Medical Doctors

- 69 Nurses

- 10 HEMMT Diesel Fuel Trucks

- 300 Security forces / law enforcement


- Texas has established a network to monitor price gouging.

- Texas has been working with certain business association to obtain their assistance to prevent gouging.

- Texas is prepared to quickly respond to address instances of price gouging as they occur.


- Army National Guard - 1,087

- Texas Task Force - 1

- Texas Forest Service - 69

- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department - 50

- Governor's Division of Emergency Management - 3

TOTAL - 1,232


More news links and relief effort resources from KERA

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