UPDATE: For Marble Falls residents, bottled and bulk water distribution will begin today, Feb. 24 at Marble Falls Fire Rescue located at 700 Avenue N. Distribution, one case per vehicle, is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Burnet County emergency management coordinator working with area fire departments and commissioners prepared thousands of ready-to-eat meals (MREs) to residents still struggling with obtaining food and water in the wake of the winter storm.
“Until yesterday (Monday, Feb. 22), our local stores like HEB were totally out of everything. By the time people living in the rural area got into town there was no food,” said Burnet County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Barho. “Some of these folks have been without food and water for days.
“This storm was so widespread and devastating for a long period of time, we're going to be seeing remediation and work here for several weeks.”
From Friday, Feb. 13 through Thursday Feb. 18, Winter Storm Uri slammed into much of the state, including Burnet County, causing power outages, water system failures and issues with food deliveries at local grocery stores.
The county experienced six days, 144 hours, of sub-freezing temperatures. As a result FEMA assistance has made its way to the county, including 19,584 MREs delivered to the Burnet Fire Department on US 281.
On Sunday Feb. 21, semi tractor trailers traveling from Seguin arrived around 8 p.m. when Barho coordinated the unloading and deliveries utilizing a “hub and spoke concept.”
Barho said the system involved area first responders, county personnel and commissioners reloading 34 pallets of MREs with approximately 34 cases of food (576 meals) per pallet. By 11:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 22, food was delivered to all sites.
Two pallets each were delivered to 10 Burnet County area volunteer fire departments, paid fire departments in Burnet and Marble Falls, the Burnet County Sheriff's Office, the Marble Falls Community Resource Center and commissioners precinct sites.
“The community members live close to their fire departments. They know who has the need in their communities,” he said.
Organizers set back seven pallets for reserve in the event certain areas indicated a greater need, Barho said.
He added an effort will kick off soon for another essential need.
“We have a critical need for water. The water will be distributed the same way to get that out to the communities,” he said. “We have a large number of rural residents on water wells. A lot of them did not have electricity. They had busted pipes. We're trying to get items out to that community.”