The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, FEMA and several other State, Tribal and Federal agencies are working together to recover from flooding that struck Tribal lands in mid-January.
Federal disaster aid to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is supplementing their recovery efforts. The request directly from a Tribe to FEMA for a disaster declaration was a first, as was the resulting declaration directly to a Tribe; Congress made this possible with a January 2013 change to the Stafford Act.
The declaration made Public Assistance available to Tribal agencies. This assistance and any direct Federal assistance under the PA program is provided at 75 percent Federal funding.
Most of the damage involved roads or landslides. The largest single project, by far, is repairing U.S. 441 between Cherokee, N.C., and East Tennessee. Because it is a U.S. highway, State and Federal highway agencies are working that project.
FEMA is assisting with dozens of PA projects, from tribal-owned roads to landslides to repairs to a Tribe-owned golf course.
The declaration also makes the Tribe eligible for Mitigation funding. Under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, an additional figure based on a percentage of response money provided will be available to the Tribe for projects aimed at lessening damages in future disasters.