President Joe Biden issues disaster declaration for Oglala Sioux Tribe

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 4:33 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -Most of western South Dakota endured a winter storm last December, bringing low visibility, piles of snow, hazardous travel, and negative temperatures.

In Pine Ridge, the storm left people snowed in because of massive drifts. Crews worked continuously until conditions became unsafe, and they had to stop.

Due to this storm, the Oglala Sioux Tribe reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assistance, and they got it.

Last week, President Joe Biden issued a disaster declaration for the Tribe.

“FEMA is here to support the Oglala Sioux Tribe and we’ll be working with them, providing technical assistance they need to make sure that all the assistance they are eligible for, we’re able to get that to them quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Brian Hvinden, External Affairs officer for the disaster event.

This is to fund any extra measures the tribe had to take to protect their people.

Specifically, the public assistance program is a reimbursement of costs the tribe faced during the storm. FEMA will provide specialists to work with the tribe to identify eligible costs and identify documentation to ensure those costs can be reimbursed.

“Which provides assistance to the tribal government for damage to public infrastructure or for emergency actions that the tribe had to take in response to the storm. That can be snow removal, sheltering for individuals that might have lost power or had to be evacuated,” said Hvinden.

These funds should be available to the tribe in the next couple of months.