The Sovereign Navajo Nation and FEMA Sign Formal Disaster Aid Agreement
Mentmore, NM - The signing of a precedent setting formal agreement to implement federal disaster assistance directly with the Sovereign Navajo Nation will take place on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at the Navajo Division of Transportation complex. The ceremony, conducted with representatives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and tribal leadership, reflects the working partnership developed to assist the Navajo Nation with their recovery from severe freeze that occurred December 15, 2012 to January 21, 2013.
This is the first FEMA-Tribal agreement implemented west of the Mississippi since the amendment of the Stafford Act that provides federally recognized tribal governments to make a request directly to the President for a major disaster declaration without going through a state government.
"We are thankful that we are taking a step to further strengthen our sovereignty as the Navajo Nation. This agreement recognizes the government to government relationship we have with the federal government. We look forward to working together to help our people," Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said.
The Presidential disaster declaration for this severe freeze event made FEMA's Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs available to the tribe. "I am pleased to partner with the Navajo leadership in addressing their disaster-related needs," said FEMA Region IX Administrator Nancy Ward. "Our team of public assistance and mitigation specialists will continue to work closely with Tribal members to document all eligible costs and damages and to make funds available to assist with repairs and improvements."
FEMA's Public Assistance Program provides supplemental funding to state, tribal and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to help them recover from disasters. It partially reimburses eligible applicants for extraordinary costs incurred while responding to a disaster and costs related to restore damaged infrastructure.
FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funds to supplement those of eligible applicants to undertake projects that build resilience and eliminate or reduce damage in future hazardous events.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.