Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Jan. 18

Havasupai Tribe receives federal disaster declaration
Federal assistance request for recovery from flash floods approved

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Last Wednesday, Governor Jan Brewer announced that her request for a federal Major Disaster Declaration in support of the Havasupai Tribe was granted.

"This is excellent news for the ... Havasupai Tribe who have been suffering from the damage that occurred as a result of the dangerous storms that moved through Arizona in October," Gov. Brewer said. "This assistance will mitigate the damages associated with what has become almost continuous flooding since in that area since 2008."

This is the first time a state has received a Major Disaster Declaration for the Public Assistance Program where the sole qualifying government is a sovereign tribal nation. Federal law requires that the governor of the state in which a disaster occurs formally request the declaration.

The Declaration is granted to support recovery efforts from flash flooding that occurred between Oct. 3-6 in Havasu Canyon, a remote area deep within an inner gorge of the Grand Canyon. The flooding forced the evacuation of 143 tourists and damaged infrastructure, including bridges, campgrounds and trails vital to tourism. Repairs to homes, businesses and private roads are not an eligible Public Assistance cost.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will work directly with tribal officials through the recovery efforts. The Havasupai Tribe became eligible since the monetary impact when measured per capita exceeded FEMA guidelines.

The impact of the disaster, which included rendering the main route leading into Supai Village impassable and causing severe damage to the trails used for the delivery of mail and supplies into the village, was assessed at $1.63 million. The population of the tribe was 503, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics gathered in 2000, for an impact of $3,240 per person.

Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network website at www.azein.gov for real-time incident updates, preparedness and hazard information, and multimedia resources.

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