April 13, 2023

FEMA funds available to Navajo Nation after blizzard, flooding

Navajo Nation Flag

The federal government announced on Wednesday that disaster assistance will be available to assist communities in Navajo Nation that were impacted by severe winter weather and are facing spring flooding due to snowmelt.

The severe winter weather that barraged New Mexico in January hit the Navajo Nation so badly the Nation declared an emergency on Jan. 17 from the blizzard.

The winter snows melted into spring flooding which has led to another emergency on the Navajo Nation.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, announced Wednesday that federal disaster assistance was made available.

“We’re very thankful for the money that the federal government has provided,” Navajo Nation spokesman Donovan Quintero said. “President Biden, his administration, understand what was going on out here. And through the efforts of the Navajo Nation Department of Emergency Management, they collected data, working with all their partners. This data and the initial report have proven effective since the approval came and so now, we’ll just wait for the payment.”

The now-available funding is to support recovery efforts in areas affected by the Jan. 14-17 storms and subsequent flooding.

The funding was authorized by President Joe Biden on Tuesday. 

The funding is available to the Navajo Nation “and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storms and flooding,” a FEMA news release states.

Benigno B. Ruiz was named the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the tribe and warranted by the results of further assessments.

For more information, visit the FEMA website.