SAN CARLOS, Ariz. -- The first steps in providing federal assistance to recover from nearly $1.5 million in flood damage during midsummer monsoon storms have been taken at the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.
"It's our job to ensure that you get every penny for which you're eligible," San Carlos Apache tribal officials were told by Michael L. Karl, the top official of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Arizona.
Karl appeared Tuesday before the tribe's governing council here and later attended the initial recovery-planning session between tribal emergency response officials and FEMA program experts. Karl is federal coordinating officer for the recovery operation FEMA has established in Phoenix to reimburse state, local and tribal governments for at least 75 percent of their eligible disaster-related costs.
On the San Carlos Apache Reservation, the bulk of the damage is washed-out tribal roads and livestock watering "tanks," which are basins created by building small earthen dams across creeks at natural depressions.
The San Carlos Apache tribal territory within Gila, Graham and Pinal counties was added Sept. 29 to an existing federal disaster declaration. The declaration covers storm and flood damages that occurred between July 25 and Aug. 4, 2006.
FEMA officials explained how they will assist the tribe in defining work projects that qualify for federal reimbursement and help them submit the necessary paperwork.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.