SALEM, OR -- As a result of past federally declared disasters, Oregon Native American tribes will receive technical assistance in developing a hazard mitigation plan. This assistance comes in the form of a grant through a federal Hazard Mitigation Technical Assistance Program (HMTAP).
States and sovereign nations are required to have a hazard mitigation plan in place in order to receive federal financial assistance during a presidential disaster declaration. Using HMTAP grants, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in the process of ensuring that all tribes have a mitigation plan in place. An enhanced mitigation plan has already been completed by the state.
“Oregon was one of the first states to complete an enhanced mitigation plan,” said Lee Champagne, FEMA federal coordinating officer. “Now we want Oregon to be one of the first states in which all Native American tribes have completed this important step.”
Mitigation planning requires evaluation of existing infrastructure for vulnerability to natural hazards, as well as identifying key considerations for safe and prudent future development in light of those risks. In addition, having the plan on hand and up to date speeds the recovery process following future disaster events.
Advanced mitigation planning can alleviate the need for some post¬-disaster recovery and reconstruction. “We feel strongly that, with this assistance from FEMA, the state and the tribes can take this opportunity to promote and implement mitigation practices before future flooding and other disaster events,” said Ian Finseth, Tribal Liaison from Oregon Emergency Management.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003