Death toll Continues to Rise in Texas Winter Storm


Officials said the death toll from the freezing winter weather that battered Texas and caused widespread power outages this year rose 59 to reach 210.

Human loss in communities young and old, urban and rural, has devastated families in Texas. State Health Services Department, published the latest data On Tuesday, he said the numbers could rise as epidemiologists examine the causes of reported deaths from February 11 to March 5.

“The majority of confirmed deaths were associated with hypothermia,” the department said in a report. Other deaths were caused by vehicle accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, falls, fire and exacerbation of chronic diseases related to winter storms.

Data show that deaths occurred in 60 counties. Hardest hit was Harris County, with 43 confirmed storm deaths; Travis County with 28; and Dallas, with 20.

Harris County, which includes Houston, is the state’s most populous county with over four million people, followed by Dallas County with more than 2.6 million. Travis County, which also includes the state capital Austin, is the fifth most populous county with approximately 1.2 million people.

The winter storm that swept through Texas in mid-February plunged the state into freezing temperatures and brought the power grid to the brink of collapse. Millions of residents had to boil water, use generators, huddle in idling cars for warmth and search for wood to feed the fires during some of the coldest weather recorded in the state’s history.

Initial estimates for the death toll in mid-March were 57, but the death toll continued to rise as the months progressed. reached 111 at the end of the month, indicates departmental numbers. It was revised twice in April until it reached 151.

The department said epidemiologists continue to review death certificates, tying the causes of death to the storm. Another update will likely come next month, before the health ministry releases a final report, a ministry spokesman Douglas Loveday said on Wednesday.

The scale of losses ranked the storm well above other disasters in the state, even worse than Hurricane Harvey, which killed at least 68 people in 2017.

fall out The winter storm included calls for accountability by elected officials and the regulation-resistant energy industry in Texas, the nation’s leading energy-producing state.

“People needed heat, people needed power, and they didn’t have it for days,” Celesté Arredondo-Peterson, director of the Texas Organizing Project, an advocacy group, said in an interview.

“The only word I can use is shock, shock that so many people in the richest country in the world froze to death,” he said.

Manuel M. Riojas, 64, in San Antonio, has had trouble breathing as power outages have cut off the supply to the oxygen machine he has been using since he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Died in hospital on February 16, according to his family and an obituary.

In Conroe, about 65 kilometers north of Houston, Maria Elisa Pineda found her 11-year-old son, Cristian Pineda, dead in her bed in mid-February. According to Domingo Garcia, the lawyer who represented Ms. Pineda in the wrongful death case, the coroner said the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.

Rural areas were not protected. Days after Cristian was found dead, authorities found the lifeless body of 86-year-old Pauline Dearing in her backyard in Abilene, Taylor County, a mostly rural area in north Texas, where at least seven people died during the storm.

Temperatures reached 5 degrees, the lowest since 1983 and a record for Abilene.

County justice of the peace Mike McAuliffe said Mrs. Dearing, who has dementia, was wandering outside and collapsed to the ground. He said paramedics told county officials that he broke a leg and couldn’t get in.

They found him two meters from a back door.

in his obituary, relatives remembered Mrs. Dearing as a dedicated mother and grandmother of 11 children. Richard Dearing, one of his four surviving sons, described his death as “really sad”. Given how unprepared the state found itself during the winter storm, Mr. Dearing said he was surprised that the death toll was “not much higher”.


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