The President of the United States, Donald Trump, declared this Sunday a state of emergency in the state of Texas due to the impact of the passage of Hurricane Hanna during the last hours by more than thirty counties in the country, as reported this Sunday by the White House.
“Today, President Donald Trump has announced an emergency situation in the state of Texas and has ordered the offer of federal aid”, according to the statement.
With permission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) receives permission to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion the necessary equipment and resources to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.
One day after roaring ashore like a hurricane, Hanna hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Sunday with strong winds and torrential rains that destroyed ships, flooded the streets and left without electricity in a region that was already reeling from a surge in coronavirus cases.
Dropped into a tropical storm, Hanna passed over the border between the United States and Mexico with winds close to 50 mph (85 kph), said the National Hurricane Center. It dumped more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain into parts of southern Texas and northeast Mexico.
Border communities whose health care systems were already strained by the COVID-19 cases, with some patients airlifted to larger cities, found themselves under siege from the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic season. There were no immediate reports of deaths on either side of the border.
Dr. Ivan Meléndez, the health authority in Hidalgo County, Texas, was treating a patient overnight in a hospital when he and a nurse noticed that water was falling down a wall and accumulating on the floor. Water was flowing through a vent in the room, which had been adapted with a fan to create negative pressure and prevent the virus from spreading through the hospital.
Henry Van De Putte, CEO of the Red Cross branch in the Gulf of Texas, said that the organization would open more shelters with reduced capacity to guarantee social distancing. Volunteers and people seeking shelter will undergo temperature checks, and a medical professional will be assigned to each location, he said.
A community building known as the “Dome” in Mercedes, Texas, was Reserved for evacuees who tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to the virus. Throughout the region, shelters were also opened in hotels, schools and gyms.
Van De Putte emphasized that people should not delay seeking help because of the virus. “Yes, the coronavirus provides risk, but so does the flood water, it does not have electricity, it does not need medication”, said. “We are doing everything we can to make it a safe environment.”
Coastal states struggled this spring to adjust hurricane emergency plans to account for the virus, and Hanna was the first big test. The governor Greg Abbott said Saturday that some people in need of shelter will receive hotel rooms to keep them separate from others.
Hanna flew ashore as a Category 1 storm late Saturday afternoon Winds 90 mph (145 kph) not far from Port Mansfield, which is about 130 miles (210 km) south of Corpus Christi.
More than 150,000 people were without power Sunday throughout South Texas, including Corpus Christi, Harlingen and Brownsville, public service officials said.
Corpus Christi is in Nueces County, where 60 babies tested positive for COVID-19 July 1-16. Further south in Cameron County, more than 300 new cases have been reported almost daily in the past two weeks. The past week has also been the deadliest pandemic in the county.
Hanna came almost three years after Hurricane Harvey made landfall northeast of Corpus Christi. Hanna was not expected to be as destructive as Harvey, who killed 68 people and caused an estimated $ 125 billion in damage in Texas.
(With information from Europa Press and AP)
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