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Reeling from a brutal storm, Texas now faces water shortage

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Water is loaded into cars at a City of Houston water distribution site Friday Feb. 19 2021 in Houston. The drive-thru

The congresswoman will meet with Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, this weekend to distribute supplies and raise awareness for the millions of Texans lacking basic necessities in the wake of a record-breaking winter storm that has left at least 46 dead in 10 states, the majority in Texas, and millions across the country without heat, water or electricity.

By Monday, several million Texans were dealing with rolling blackouts, as the state's electric grid operator struggled to deal with increased demand for power amid plunging temperatures reaching into sub-zero, double digits in some cases.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned that residents "are not out of the woods", with temperatures still well below freezing statewide, south central Texas threatened by a winter storm and disruptions in food supply chains.

Almost 185,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Texas according to poweroutage.us early Friday, down from about 3 million two days earlier, though utility officials said limited rolling blackouts were still possible. Biden said he had directed the US Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Defense to identify "other resources that can provide and address the growing needs of the folks in Texas".

All of the state's power-generating plants are back online, but 166,229 remained without power as of 20:50 on Friday, according to Poweroutage.us, which tracks utilities in the US.

Texas authorities ordered 7 million people - a quarter of the population of the nation's second-largest state - to boil tap water before drinking it because low water pressure could have allowed bacteria to seep into the system. Cruz later said the trip was a mistake. He said the question ultimately becomes "why weren't we prepared?" and "what can we do to ensure this doesn't happen again?" In some cities, hospitals were operating without water service, while businesses in Waco were told to reduce consumption by 50 percent.

Water is loaded into the trunk of a car at a City of Houston water distribution site Friday Feb. 19 2021 in Houston. The
Water is loaded into the trunk of a car at a City of Houston water distribution site Feb. 19 2021 in Houston

In Jackson, Mississippi, most of the city of about 161,000 had no running water.

The logo of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seen at its headquarters in Washington, DC. Another in Houston had to haul in water on trucks to flush toilets.

Rural hospitals across Texas were not only trying to treat patients under tough conditions, but also serving as de facto "warming centers" for the healthy, said John Henderson, president of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals. The site was expected to begin distribution on Friday at 11:30 a.m. local time. The city has stepped in and is distributing clean water across the metroplex.

"It's pretty much first come, first served", said Lopez, as he and a colleague manhandled a new water heater out of their van on Friday.

Moody's said, "We expect insured losses for US P&C insurers to total in the billions of dollars, with claims from homeowners, commercial property, and auto lines of business". "But we've been going since Sunday like this".

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