RAPID CITY, S.D. -- Grants are now being distributed for emergency expenses and for repairing damage to the public infrastructure caused by the June tornadoes on the Pine Ridge Reservation. As of August 25, a total of $648,208 had been provided to state agencies and the tribal government, and to a qualifying nonprofit agency, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Additional grants are expected.
The June 9 presidential disaster declaration for the Pine Ridge Reservation/Shannon County made the tribal government and state emergency operations eligible to apply for federal assistance. One nonprofit organization, Lacreek Electric Association, was also found eligible for assistance. FEMA funds 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures (such as search and rescue, and emergency shelter programs), and permanent repair of roads, public buildings, and public utilities, according to Federal Coordinating Officer Pete Bakersky of FEMA. The remaining 25 percent of the approved costs is paid for either by the state or tribal government, or the nonprofit organization.
The June tornadoes "devastated the Pine Ridge community," said Bakersky. "Emergency help, removing debris and restoring utilities would put an enormous burden on the local budget. Federal assistance removes most of that burden, and puts the community on the road to recovery much faster than would otherwise be possible."
FEMA is paying $329,948 to reimburse agencies for emergency services that protected the public in the immediate aftermath of the tornadoes. Another $158,098 is being paid for restoration of public utilities damaged by the storms, and $114,882 has been provided for debris removal. The rest of the funds include payments for damage to public buildings and roads, plus administrative costs for all the categories.