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Gov. Abbott: What stands strong is the character of Texans

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Texas Governor Gregg Abbott.—Photo by Joseph Earnest


by Texas Governot Greg Abbott August 31, 2017


Newscast Media HOUSTONNo force of nature is more powerful than Texans helping Texans. That is what we witnessed this weekend as rising waters threatened communities around Harris County - and still as search-and-rescue efforts continue.
Though the unfolding scenes of unimaginable devastation and destruction left in Harvey's wake from Houston to Corpus Christi and beyond are truly heartbreaking, what stands strong is the character of our Texas family. In that, Harvey has met his match.
It was only 12 years ago when the good people of Houston answered the call to help our neighbors from Louisiana when Katrina struck. And, as we did then, we will again triumph over tragedy.
I am so proud of the dedication of all of our fearless emergency responders and of the armada of selfless citizens who have worked so tirelessly to rescue those in need, transporting them to safety, sometimes in their arms. So many lives were saved.
Preserving life remains our first priority. That is why I have now activated the entire Texas National Guard to assist in ongoing search and rescue efforts for any Texans in immediate danger, and to help in extensive recovery efforts in the aftermath of the storm.
And I have five important messages:
I urge all of the citizens in the Houston area to listen to your local officials. Heed all warnings. As the storm threatens to return and waters continue to rise, be prepared to take quick action advised by emergency management officials.
If you are in a safe place, do not attempt to return until an all-clear is announced. This may take days, and I urge patience. Without basic services like power, water and sanitation, and with power lines down, the risks to your safety are too great. The restoration of power is a priority and is underway.
Basic necessities including food and water are being delivered to points of distribution in each affected county. Portable sanitation facilities will begin arriving Tuesday.
Residents of 18 counties now qualify for individual federal financial disaster assistance. Those counties include Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, San Patricio, Refugio, Victoria and Wharton. If you live in one of these 18 counties, check for more information on temporary housing and long-term recovery assistance. More of the 58 counties declared as state disaster areas may be added.
Finally, if you need help, ask. We will be here until we can restore this region.
The strength and mass of this hurricane and storm was unprecedented as was the aggressive advance action and coordination of federal, state and local emergency management resources.
I am grateful to the president for his rapid and personal attention to our requests and for the support of his cabinet members. Local emergency managers, elected officials, law enforcement and first responders have been exemplary in this time of crisis; their courage and unparalleled leadership has minimized the loss of life. And I thank the professionals of FEMA, the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas National Guard, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and all of our state agencies as well as work crews from neighboring states, Texas businesses and all citizens who have opened their homes, their hearts and their wallets to help Texans during this catastrophe.
The moments of heroism and selflessness witnessed this weekend demonstrate what it is to be a Texan, a neighbor, a friend. We've seen the best of America and a reaffirmation of the unshakable bonds of our humanity.
Losses cut deep. Rebuilding will take months and likely years. But we will persevere. And Houston and the jewels of our Texas coast will again shine.
For Texans wishing to help, please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross.
The First Lady and I invite you to join us in praying for our Texas family. May God keep you safe. 

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