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Gov. Abbott requests federal disaster declaration for Hidalgo, Cameron counties

June 26, 2018 GMT

EDINBURG — Gov. Greg Abbott signed a gubernatorial request for a federal disaster declaration for Hidalgo and Cameron counties at a briefing held here Tuesday morning inside the Hidalgo County Health Department.

Abbott’s request comes days after the Rio Grande Valley was slammed with heavy flooding last week, leaving portions of the region, especially in the Mid-Valley and Western Hidalgo County, inundated in floodwater that stranded motorists and displaced families.

The governor said there are still 10 colonias underwater and that first responders made over 2,000 rescues. About 161 families remain in shelters. Abbott, however, encouraged anyone still living within a flooded home to evacuate, raising health concerns related to possibly contaminated floodwater.

Other counties may be included in his petition for federal disaster, but it appears they may not have met a threshold for such a declaration. However, officials will continue to evaluate and tally the damage to see if other counties qualify.

Abbott said the state would work with the federal government to help fund much-needed drainage projects in the area, including the Raymondville Drain. He indicated that the federal government has set aside $15 billion for a variety of projects that could include drainage in the region.