Tuesday, March 9, 2021

"Chaos Sweeps Across Texas As Panic Buying Frenzy Triggers Massive Food And Fuel Shortages"

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"Chaos Sweeps Across Texas As Panic Buying 
Frenzy Triggers Massive Food And Fuel Shortages"
by Epic Economist

"Panic-buying is once again causing ravaging shortages all over Texas, as residents are running to the stores to stockpile essentials and also to gas stations, waiting in mile-long lines, fearing they could be left without fuel for an indeterminate period. The storm's impact is all too similar to the problems faced earlier on the health crisis, when food supply chains broke down all across the country after people started to massively purchase food staples and cleaning products in face of the coming lockdowns.

Now, although power issues have been fixed in most parts of the state, water disruptions and snow and ice-covered roads have impacted the delivery of grocery supplies and gas. Residents are still facing major challenges as this chaotic situation has been lingering for weeks, with several stores and food banks revealing to be in "disaster mode" since food shortages are predicted to extend for much longer than previously expected. That's what we're going to expose in this video.

Last week, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, has finally resumed normal operations, ending a prolonged period of emergency interruptions. But according to PowerOutage.us, at least 58,000 Texans remain without power. And that's not even the most worrying problem the state is facing right now: about 7 million Texas residents are under “boil water” warnings, which means their water isn’t safe to drink without boiling first.

In total, over 14.9 million Texans have been severely affected by disruptions to water systems across the state. The damages registered up until this point have left the state on disaster footing as it still failing to promptly respond to what Austin City Council member Natasha Harper-Madison described in an interview as “a Katrina-scale crisis”. “I’m getting evidence of people’s infrastructure failing - people’s pipes failing, people’s toilets failing, people not having access to water because their homes have flooded,” said Harper-Madison.

According to the Texas Tribune, residents have also been suffering from food shortages, and due to the latest panic-buying spree, empty grocery shelves became a common sight. For weeks, water bottles were nowhere to be found. Even larger chains like H-E-B had no water inventory available across multiple facilities. H-E-B noted that there was a "severe disruption in the food supply chain”. Kroger said it had to temporarily shut down 15 stores across the state since its distribution center remains without power, impacting replenishment.

Moreover, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller sounded a red alert about the food supply chain, revealing that grocery retailers are unable to get dairy product shipments and farmers are dumping milk due to the lack of power on processing plants. "We're looking at a food supply chain problem like we’ve never seen before, even with the health crisis," Miller outlined.

Authorities are underlining that the panic-buying frenzy has been worsening shortages and leaving entire families without enough food. They have been asking residents not to hoard on essentials and to only get what they are going to actually consume. The heightened demand has sent food prices to exorbitant levels, even though Texas outlaws price gouging.

Additionally, across several cities, lines of cars waiting to get into gas stations are stretching for miles. Several gas terminals have either slowed down or rationed distribution, and many stations have started to shut off pumps as panicked consumers have been emptying a month's supply in a short few days. At this moment, one in every seven Texas gas stations is without fuel, and the Lone Star state might need to count on outside help. According to the Texas Food & Fuel Association, the number of gas stations and convenience stores with empty tanks hit 15 percent. For that reason, the association is urging motorists to avoid panic buying because the retail gas system is not prepared for everyone filling up their tanks all at once.

Meanwhile, food banks and pantries have been forced to close as it became impossible for staff and vehicles to get to the distribution centers. With grocery shortages, the suspension of school meal programs, and food bank deliveries interrupted by untreated, treacherous roads, millions of Texans are still in a precarious living situation with dwindling food supplies.

As Texas is still struggling to respond to the scale of the crisis even after weeks, the food supply disruption and widespread gas shortages show how poorly prepared the US is to manage climate crises. Our lack of planning and resilience to handle systemic failures will continue to put millions of lives in jeopardy while our nation dives into a never-ending chaos of economic catastrophes and natural disasters."

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