Houston tornado: Texas Governor Greg Abbott issues disaster declaration for Southeast Texas

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced that he issued a disaster declaration for communities in Southeast Texas impacted by severe storms that caused damage to homes and businesses on Tuesday. 

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The disaster declaration includes Harris and Orange counties and will further support the State of Texas' recovery efforts in response to extensive damage sustained due to tornadic activity in Pasadena, Deer Park, and neighboring Southeast Texas communities. 

"The State of Texas is ready to assist Texans and businesses impacted by tornados in Southeast Texas communities," Abbott said in a press release. "This disaster declaration will swiftly provide all necessary resources to help Texans navigate the recovery process during this difficult time. Texans impacted by severe weather are encouraged to self-report sustained damages to their homes or businesses through the iSTAT survey. Join Cecilia and me in praying for Texans and communities affected by these tornados as they begin to recover."

According to the release, the Texas Division of Emergency Management has deployed state emergency response personnel on Wednesday to affected areas to conduct preliminary damage assessments alongside local responders, with those efforts continuing through the rest of the week. 

The Texas Division of Emergency Management has also requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide personnel to participate in joint preliminary damage assessments to certify the damage. The effort will help determine whether Texas meets federal requirements for disaster assistance. 

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Abbott added on Wednesday that all impacted Texans should complete the self-reporting damage survey. Reporting damage to the Texas Division of Emergency Management is a voluntary activity, is not a substitute for reporting damage to an insurance agency, and does not guarantee disaster relief assistance. 

The iSTAT survey can be filled out in English and Spanish online at damage.tdem.texas.gov, by clicking "Winter/Severe Weather January 23-25."