PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The Hopi Nation in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working diligently to assist in the recovery of public facilities that sustained losses from the winter storms and flooding between December 28 and January 12. The disaster declaration was made by President Bush on February 17. Several positive steps have been made to speed the recovery process.
A FEMA liaison is working together with a representative from the Hopi Nation to assess disaster recovery needs. A FEMA Task Force, consisting of mitigation and environmental specialists and two public assistance consultants, arrived March 6 to work with the Hopi leaders to report on damages.
On Monday, March 7, there was a meeting between the Task Force and Hopi community officials to share information related to the storms and to tour the damaged areas. The Task Force and FEMA tribal liaison are located in Kykotsmovi to coordinate with tribal leaders.
On Tuesday March 8, there was a question and answer time for representatives from the Hopi villages to discuss issues with the FEMA Task Force, liaison, tribal program representatives, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Some concerns include damaged roads and other infrastructure, Kivas in the villages needing repair, and the difficulty for the elderly in remote areas to access medical and emergency facilities.
On Wednesday, March 9 the FEMA Task Force met with senior tribal leadership to discuss eligibility, the public assistance (infrastructure) program process, and how financial payments are made. Any additional damages that may have been overlooked from the January storms should be reported to the FEMA Task Force.
“Tribal and FEMA officials are also concerned about damage from the storms that hit in February and are looking at ways to support recovery,” said Daryl Wait, FEMA Public Assistance Officer for the disaster. “The Hopi Nation will be requesting teams to assess damage that was sustained during the storms. The results will be reported to the national FEMA office for recommendations.”
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and effectively manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.