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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday issued a disaster declaration in the town of Uvalde in an effort to expedite the response to last week’s elementary school shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead.
The declaration “will accelerate all available state and local resources to assist the Uvalde community, as well as suspend regulations that would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the aftermath of the tragic shooting,” according to the governor’s office.
More specifically, it will continue to allow the Texas Division of Emergency Management to use all its resources to respond to the shooting, including providing a temporary facility to serve as a “family resource center” for those “seeking mental health services and other resources.”
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is also working alongside local mental health providers to support people in Uvalde.
“The community of Uvalde has been left devastated by last week’s senseless act of violence at Robb Elementary School and should not have to encounter any difficulty in receiving the support needed to heal,” Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday.
Since the shooting, Abbott has been criticized by some, including former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, his Democratic opponent in November’s gubernatorial election, for his hard-line stance on guns.
On Sunday, Abbott visited a memorial site at Robb Elementary School and was greeted by a booing crowd.
“We need change! We need change, governor!” one onlooker shouted.
O’Rourke confronted Abbott at a press conference last week, saying, “You are doing nothing.”
“You said this was not predictable, this was totally predictable, and you choose not to do anything,” he added.