AUSTIN - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held a news conference to provide an update on the ongoing flood situation in Houston Wednesday afternoon.
Abbott noted that more help is on the way, especially for the region east of Houston, where Tropical Storm Harvey returned to landfall early Wednesday.
The Beaumont and Port Arthur areas have been saturated with heavy rain, meaning flooding has again become a critical issue.
Abbott previously said that 12,000 Texas National Guard members were deployed to provide aid. On Wednesday, Abbott said that number increased to 14,000 with many being sent to Southeast Texas. He also added that plans are in the works to deploy 10,000 National Guard members from other states.
Texas National Guard crews are currently active in 25 locations with more than 600 vehicles, 500 boats and 100 helicopters. They're presently focusing on air rescues in the Beaumont area.
So far, National Guard crews have conducted more than 8,500 rescues, 26,000 evacuations and 14,000 welfare checks. The Department of Defense is supplying an additional 200 boats and 200 vehicles and the Department of Public Safety will deploy 2,000 more people to specific regions for aid.
Abbott also noted that about 30,000 beds remain available at area shelters. More than 32,000 people have already taken refuge in shelters since Saturday.
Since shelters are intended to be short-term solutions, transitional housing is also on the way. Abbott said more than 2,000 rooms should become available and buses will soon transport evacuees from the Southeast region to Dallas.
So far, more than 210,000 have registered for aid from FEMA. Abbott shot down rumors that a Sept. 1 deadline is in place for applications. There currently is no deadline, nor will application procedures change, he said.
FEMA has already approved $37 million in assistance for the Houston region. That number is expected to surpass relief funds for Hurricane Katrina, which reached well over $100 billion, according to Abbott.
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