Navajo tribal leaders cooperating with FEMA for response and recovery ops
| 11.08.2006 | 01:46:14 | Views: 3232 | ID:
November 8 '06: Navajo tribal leaders have signed an agreement with US federal officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief and response operations, a FEMA press release announced recently. The agreement is the first of its kind to amalgamate federal and tribal response operations in the area.
The agreement between tribal leaders and FEMA came after severe flooding and heavy rains caused more than $1 million worth of damage across the state prompting President Bush to declare the state a disaster area.Tony Russell, the federal coordinating officer for New Mexico said, "This is the first time that FEMA has responded to natural disasters that cross the boundaries of two states, two (FEMA) regions and two Joint Field Offices. ... The whole design is to give the Navajo a single point of federal contact." In addition to the Navajo/FEMA agreement, federal officials are cooperating with Apache tribal leaders and responders to help with federal recovery and disaster assistance. "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." FEMA officials cooperating with local tribal officials also have announced four counties and three tribal governments participating in federal disaster relief and response cooperative efforts. Lee Rosenberg, the federal coordinating officer for Arizona said, "The government-to-government agreement between FEMA and the Navajo Nation paves the way for us to continue to work closely together. ... We have taken an important step toward recovery from the monsoon storms that struck the Navajo Nation." Navajo President Joe Shirely said he has encouraged the cooperation. "This is the way it should be," Shirley said. "We stand side-by-side and work together. We can't do it alone."
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