Thursday, January 27, 2011

Havasupai Tribe and FEMA sign disaster agreement today

FEMA officials are flying into Supai Village this morning to sign a formal agreement to implement federal disaster assistance to the Sovereign Tribal Nation of the Havasupai Tribe (Havasupai). This will release funds to assist the Havasupai with their recovery from flooding that occurred last October [right, photo by Brian Gootee, AZGS].

This is the first time a Native American tribe has received emergency disaster funds on their own, rather than as a partner to a state or county government. Tribal Council Chair Bernadine Jones said, “We are proud to be a grantee and to be able to receive FEMA funds directly to the Tribe. This action strengthens the sovereignty of the Tribe.”

AZGS geologist Brian Gootee has been working with the Tribe to help with the recovery, including assisting with preparation during the past few weeks of a comprehensive mitigation plan that was completed just yesterday in cooperation with FEMA and the AZ Div. of Emergency Management. That was key to getting the disaster funds released.

The famed Havasu Canyon has been closed to visitors since the flood but the emergency funds will be crucial in restoring tourist facilities that the are economic lifeblood of the Tribe.

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