The devastating impact of the freezing temperatures that hit Texas last month is nowhere near over. Still, over one million Texans have been without drinking water, most of whom are from working class households. Hundreds of thousands of homes and apartments have continued to have multiple broken pipes and water-destroyed infrastructure, often with mold spreading throughout the home.
There has been no effort by the Texas government to help people cover the costs of these repairs. There is so much repair work to be done and such a shortage of plumbers and construction workers that workers are coming to Texas from across the country to help with the work. But none of this has been organized or coordinated. Families are responsible for finding and scheduling their own repairs and covering all of the costs, sometimes several thousands of dollars. The majority of households either can’t afford or can’t even find someone to do the repairs. Some households have had to try to get repairs done through insurance companies, which have also been overloaded and are severely backlogged, with some companies already receiving over 30,000 claims.
On top of all the costs and the shortages of people to do the work, there is an even bigger shortage in supplies needed to repair the damage, with no clear timeline for when this problem will be solved. Many schools across the state have had to close again or delay scheduled reopenings due to plumbing and other massive infrastructure damage from the storm. At this point, it will likely take years to repair all of the households and buildings that have been damaged from the storm.
At the same time, lines for food relief are still hundreds of people long, and the line at the San Antonio Food bank spanned for three miles at one point. Tens of thousands of households are still without power and heat.
Despite the warming temperatures, hundreds of thousands of Texans continue to feel abandoned — because they have been. This past year has been a constant reminder that this system will never protect working people. And the catastrophe in Texas is not unique — disasters like this will only continue to happen as corporations continue to destroy the environment. Left in the hands of the banks and big business and their politicians that oversee this system, we are facing many more events like Texas and much worse. Our future depends on bringing an end to their system of endless profit at any cost. To do this, we must fight for a world that can respond to the emergency that these so-called leaders have created.