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Texas-US: Winter storm killed 24 people and caused widespread power outage

The huge storm sweeping across the southern US has killed at least 24 people and left millions without power.Texas has seen widespread outages.

Nearly seven million people in the US state of Texas have been told to boil tap water before consuming it after a deadly winter storm caused power blackouts at treatment facilities.

Freezing temperatures have also caused water pipes to burst, despite attempts by some homeowners to insulate them from the cold using blankets.

Sen. Ted Cruz flew to Cancun, Mexico, with his family this week as Texas dealt with a winter storm that as of Thursday still has left 500,000 without power.

After the trip became public, Cruz released a statement and said he planned to fly back to the U.S. on Thursday afternoon.

Photographs of Cruz, R-Texas, at an airport began circulating on social media late Wednesday, with critics slamming the senator for leaving the state for Cancun amid a major crisis.

Cruz addressed the trip in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

“This has been an infuriating week for Texans. The greatest state in the greatest country in the world has been without power. We have food lines, gas lines, and people sleeping at the neighbors’ houses. Our homes are freezing and our lights are out. Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too.”

The mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, urged those without power – and unable to boil tap water – to try to access bottled water wherever possible.

“Power will not be restored fully, I would say, probably for another couple of days,” he told reporters at a press conference.

Houston police and disaster response teams will be delivering bottled water to those with disabilities who do not have access to transportation, the mayor said on Thursday.

Mr Turner also urged people who had been leaving taps running to prevent pipes from freezing not to do so, in an effort to help conserve supplies.

Temperatures this week have plunged to dangerous record lows in the Lone Star State and overwhelmed power grids, leaving millions without power. At least 30 people have died across the U.S. as a result of the extreme winter weather, according to the Associated Press. 

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