Many people twisted sink handles and got nothing out of their faucets. Residents have been unable to bathe, wash their hands or use the toilet. In Harris County, which includes Houston, more than one million people either did not have water or were told to boil it first, and in Austin, the capital, residents were told to boil water because of a power failure at the city’s largest water-treatment facility.
Officials said restoring water service to hospitals was the first priority.
“We never imagined a day where hospitals wouldn’t have water,” Greg Meszaros, the director of Austin Water, said this week.
People are also struggling to find food.
Without water and after days of power outages, many Texans have lost perishable food and are struggling to get more.
Many grocery stores have been picked clean or have been closed, and food banks are handing out food as quickly as they can.
More than 500 cars lined up on Friday morning at the headquarters of the San Antonio Food Bank, which hoped to distribute 100,000 pounds of food and water over the weekend. At the site, volunteers and members of the Texas National Guard assessed pallets of bread, peanut butter, cakes, potatoes, onions, watermelon and other fresh produce, readying the food for residents hit hard by blackouts.
Are schools open?
The two largest public school districts in Texas will be closed for several days after the storm and the ensuing chaos, officials said, and several other school buildings have been damaged, delaying in-person and virtual classes.
The Houston Independent School District, the state’s largest, said it would be closed until Wednesday, when virtual learning will resume, followed by in-person learning on March 1. Dallas Independent School District, the state’s second-largest, will also be closed on Monday and Tuesday as crews clean up water damage and repair pipes, the district said.