DENTON, Texas – Last month the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster assistance had been made available for the Pueblo of Acoma to supplement tribal recovery efforts in the areas affected by the severe storms and flooding from October 4 to October 6, 2017.
During a formal ceremony at the Tribal Council Chambers, Pueblo of Acoma Governor Kurt Riley and Federal Coordinating Officer Gerard Stolar signed the Federal-Tribal Agreement to implement federal disaster assistance directly to the Pueblo. The ceremony reflected the working partnership developed to help the Pueblo recover from the severe storms and flooding that occurred in October.
Acoma Pueblo is the second Tribal Nation in FEMA Region 6 to receive a direct Presidential Major disaster declaration. It is the 12th Tribal Nation in the country to receive a direct disaster declaration. The Pueblo was a sub-grantee under the State of New Mexico for five previous disaster declarations. Recovery from the previous disasters is still ongoing, even as they recover from the October storms and flooding.
The Pueblo of Acoma encompasses some 538,212 acres in a rural area of New Mexico and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. Archaeologists agree that it has been continuously occupied from at least A.D 1200. Today, the Pueblo has a population of 5,175. Tribal leaders have the responsibility of serving their people, as well as to protect their culture resources and borders.
While the amount of rainfall in October was not great, the speed with which it came down the mountains was enough to wash away vegetation, restrict access to roads, and damage acequias that provide irrigation water to the Pueblo’s farmlands. The severe storms and flooding also affected their cattle and farming industries. The high volume of water also damaged numerous culverts and dams, making the Pueblo susceptible to major flooding in the future.
This disaster declaration authorizes federal assistance from FEMA’s Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation programs. 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. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/femaregion6 and the FEMA Blog at http://blog.fema.gov.