ORANGE, TX --Four more counties have been added to the Texas disaster declaration area following last week's storms that have led to thousands of evacuations and possibly two deaths.
Gov. Greg Abbott says people in Henderson, Shelby, Smith and Walker counties join 21 other counties in being eligible for government disaster help.
The amended disaster proclamation was signed Wednesday after Abbott toured communities in the flood-ravaged region. The declaration for the other 21 counties was announced March 14, after East Texas was slammed by as much as 20 inches of rain over four days last week. Steadily rising waters along rivers prompted evacuations beginning last weekend.
The flooding has led to intermittent closures of stretches of Interstate 10, one of the country's major transportation arteries.
During a press conference Wednesday, Abbott praised emergency personnel who have coordinated the evacuation of thousands of people from the flooded areas. He said emergency coordination among local and state agencies helped minimize dangers to residents. He also thanked Louisiana officials for contributing to the emergency effort.
Abbott warned that the Sabine River could continue to rise for another day or two so people must still heed evacuation orders.
The Orange County emergency management office did not have estimates on how many people have been displaced in the county, but said about 9,100 people live in the evacuated areas.