PHOENIX, Ariz. -- A formal agreement between the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) clearing the path for federal disaster recovery aid was signed in a ceremony in San Carlos, Ariz., Wednesday, Oct. 25.
The signing enables FEMA aid to be released to the tribe to help cover eligible costs for the estimated $1.5 million in damages to tribal lands caused by summer monsoon storms.
The agreement was signed for the San Carlos Apache Tribe by Chairwoman Kathy W. Kitcheyan. Lee Rosenberg, the federal coordinating officer who oversees the disaster recovery, signed for FEMA.
"I am very pleased that we are the first tribe to sign this document for relief," Chairwoman Kitcheyan said. "It would not have been possible without the cooperation of all parties concerned. Now we can start rebuilding."
"This signing is an important building block in a partnership that will help achieve recovery on tribal lands damaged by the summer monsoons," Rosenberg said.
On Sept. 7, President Bush signed a disaster declaration for parts of Arizona hit hard by storms between July 25 and Aug. 4. The declaration was amended Sept. 29 to include the San Carlos Apache tribal lands within Gila, Graham and Pinal counties.
The declaration allows federal aid for the repair of storm-damaged infrastructure. FEMA assistance also will reimburse the tribe for the eligible costs of disaster-related debris removal and emergency protective services.
FEMA personnel will work with staff of the San Carlos Apache Tribe on a government-to-government basis to review disaster recovery projects. FEMA covers 75 percent of an eligible project's cost, with the San Carlos Tribe providing the remaining 25 percent.
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 .