Millions of people in Texas are still without power after a winter storm hit the state causing bitterly cold, snowy, and icy conditions. The New York Times reports that an estimated nearly three million customers are without power, as the state prepares for yet another arctic blast.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the weather conditions "caused a catastrophic failure of the state's power grid," leaving Texans without heat and electricity. BBC reports that deaths attributed to the storm have been recorded in Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Missouri, including people who have died in traffic accidents, as well as some who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from running cars and generators indoors to stay warm.
"This is an absolute public health disaster," a medical official in Houston told local station KPRC-TV. "[Carbon monoxide poisoning] certainly happens when it gets cold, but never in these numbers."
According to BBC, temperatures in Texas have hit 0F in some areas, as President Joe Biden approved a state of emergency. Homes in the state are also not insulated for cold weather, meaning indoor temperatures dropped to freezing after heat systems failed.
Amid the outages, those affected by the storm — especially those who are unhoused — are in need of direct aid.
Here are a few ways you can help:
Austin Mutual Aid is raising money to book hotel rooms for residents living outside without water or shelter.
Front Steps is hosting its annual blanket drive. If you're not in Texas or can't make it to Front Steps' location, you can order blankets online (Front Steps lists the best blankets to donate here) and ship them directly to them at 500 East 7th St., Austin, TX 78701.
The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition has put together a list of organizations working to help unsheltered people in Austin and Travis County.
Free Lunch is making and delivering home-cooked meals to residents of the Esperanza Community, a shelter complex in Austin. You can donate to them here.
The Austin Area Urban League is hosting an emergency donation drive.
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