PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The signing of a formal agreement between the Navajo and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to implement disaster recovery relief will occur in a March 25th ceremony in Window Rock from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The signing of this document reflects the working partnership between the sovereign Navajo Nation and FEMA.
“I think this is an excellent opportunity for the Nation to establish a partnership with FEMA,” said Emergency Operation Center Coordinator, Johnny Johnson, “which will create government to government relationships and provide for funding during disaster situations.”
The signing of this agreement initiates the process by which the federal government can release funds to assist in repairing public facilities damaged by the severe winter storms and flooding that occurred between December 28 and January 12.
“This is the first major Presidential disaster declaration for the Navajo Nation in 12 years,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman. “I am pleased to be able to work directly with the Navajo Nation in addressing their disaster related needs.”
President George W. Bush declared the disaster on February 17, making governmental entities and certain qualifying private non-profit organizations in the declared areas eligible for assistance. FEMA reimbursement covers debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair or replacement of damaged public facilities.
A FEMA liaison based in Window Rock continues to coordinate with the Nation’s leadership, and several other FEMA personnel remain in the field, working with staff from the Nation to assess disaster-related needs.
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.