PHOENIX, Ariz. -- A formal agreement between the Gila River Indian Community and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) clearing the path for federal disaster recovery aid was signed in a ceremony in Sacaton, Ariz., Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006.
The signing enables FEMA aid to be released to the tribe to help cover eligible costs of about $10,000 spent by the tribe for debris removal and emergency protective measures during midsummer monsoon storms.
Governor William R. Rhodes signed the agreement for the Gila River Indian Community. Lee Rosenberg, the federal coordinating officer who oversees the disaster recovery, signed for FEMA.
“We are glad that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working with the Gila River Indian Community to provide reimbursement for some of the expenses we incurred in protecting the people, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources of the Community from the effects of the recent flooding,” Rhodes said.
“Our response and support agencies put in long hours under difficult conditions to protect this Community.” Rhodes attributed the limited damages to those efforts. The governor also noted, “The Community has made a significant investment over the past eight years to enhance our ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the effects of natural, technological and human-caused emergencies and disasters.”
Rosenberg said, “That the Gila River Indian Community escaped the storms with no loss of life or injuries is a tribute to its excellent emergency response system. FEMA is pleased that this agreement will allow us to reimburse the tribe for 75 percent of those extraordinary costs.”
On Sept. 7, President Bush signed a disaster declaration for parts of Arizona hit hard by storms between July 25 and Aug. 4, including the Gila River Indian Community in Pinal County.
The tribe did not suffer reimbursable damage to roads, bridges or other infrastructure, but is eligible for federal reimbursement of its debris removal and emergency protective services costs. The tribe will provide the 25% portion not covered by FEMA.
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.