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An Austin resident said Friday that her family has been relying on melting snow for water as winter storms batter the city under a boil water advisory.
Jenn Studebaker told CNN in an interview Friday that her family has been huddling around a fireplace all week for warmth amid the freezing temperatures in Texas. The family had to drag home pallets of wood behind stores and scavenge for twigs from the frozen creeks and bark from trees with a hammer to fuel the fire, she told CNN.
While Studebaker said the power has been restored, she said she is still having issues with accessing water in their home. Texas officials reported that 325 million gallons of water was lost during the storms as pipes burst froze and burst in residents’ homes.
“We had some green bean cans to make warm water — luckily, we had water through the really bad part — but now we don’t, so we’re melting snow in the bathtub,” Studebaker said, adding that it takes four pots of snow to fill a toilet bowl.
“It’s been constant,” she continued. “We’re exhausted.”
Austin, Texas, resident Jenn Studebaker recently got her power turned back on after her family spent the week huddled together burning chairs, shelves and wood to stay warm. They are now using their bathtub to melt snow for water. https://t.co/ZLXUkUvcf9 pic.twitter.com/KxdijQdBv8
— CNN (@CNN) February 19, 2021
Studebaker said the winter storm crisis in Austin and the rest of the state of Texas piled on to the toils of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Congress is still negotiating the latest COVID-19 relief package to aid Americans who bore the brunt of the economic fallout of the pandemic.
The $1.9 trillion proposal by the Biden administration is set to include unemployment benefits and a $1,400 stimulus check to bolster the $600 payment distributed earlier this year.
She told CNN that she lost half her income in the last year, briefly speaking through tears as she relayed her experience.
“It’s like you just keep going and going through this whole year, and if we can just make it through one more month, and these tax return will come in or we’ll get some funding,” Studebaker said. “I can’t pay my utility bill, so let us have the tiny apartment, or maybe some water.”
This crisis in Texas is not happening in a vacuum. It’s happening and adding to the year’s worth of devastation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Just ask Austin, Texas resident @JennStudebaker: pic.twitter.com/6UZVbqF4Y7
— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) February 19, 2021