PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The San Carlos Apache Tribe, still recovering from the summer’s monsoon storms, has been made eligible for federal mitigation grants for projects aimed at protecting its structures and public infrastructure from future natural disasters.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) following a major presidential disaster declaration that included tribal lands within Gila, Graham and Pinal counties.
San Carlos Apache tribal lands sustained an estimated $1.5 million in damages caused by storms that struck the area between July 25 and Aug. 4.
“The disaster declaration not only cleared the path for FEMA Public Assistance grants to fix storm-damaged infrastructure on tribal lands, it also opened the door to HMPG grants for other long-term measures that could reduce loss of life and property when another disaster strikes,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Jim Calacal of FEMA.
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is designed to enable the implementation of mitigation measures during the immediate recovery from a disaster, he added.
Under the HMGP, applicants had to have a FEMA-approved tribal mitigation plan to be eligible to receive FEMA mitigation funding. FEMA approved the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s mitigation plan Oct. 19, 2005, clearing the way for HMGP participation.
“We look forward to selecting and administering our mitigation projects,” said Imogene Casey, the tribe’s environmental technician and emergency preparedness coordinator who also serves as the hazard mitigation officer. “The tribe is able to participate in these mitigation activities through a collaboration of the counties of Gila, Graham and Pinal, the Arizona Division of Emergency Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, FEMA and the tribe.”
A tribal mitigation committee will review applications for eligibility, forwarding those consistent with the tribe’s mitigation planning objectives to FEMA for review and approval.
The tribal mitigation committee must submit mitigation applications to FEMA for consideration within the 12 months following the disaster declaration, signed by President Bush on Sept. 7, 2006.
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.