Federal funding will assist help the Indigenous nation’s efforts to fight the virus and bolster vaccinations.
United States President Joe Biden has issued a catastrophe declaration for the Navajo Nation over the coronavirus pandemic, a move that unlocks much-needed federal monetary help and different help for the Indigenous group.
In a information launch on Wednesday, the White House stated the approval authorises the distribution of funds below the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help the Nation’s efforts to fight COVID-19.
“Federal funding is available to the Navajo Nation and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for the entire Tribe impacted by COVID-19,” the White House stated.
Navajo Nation leaders welcomed the move, which they stated had been “long-awaited”.
“Our administration has advocated for the declaration for quite some time. This is a great step forward and now we have to step up our efforts and coordinate with FEMA,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez stated in a press release.
The Navajo Nation, which spans elements of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, and counts a inhabitants of greater than 170,000 residents inside that space, has been one of many hardest-hit communities within the southwestern US throughout the pandemic.
According to the most recent figures, there are presently greater than 28,000 lively circumstances of COVID-19 on Navajo Nation territory, and 1,032 deaths linked to the coronavirus have been reported thus far.
Navajo Nation leaders have imposed a day by day curfew from 9pm to 5am in an effort to stem the potential unfold of infections.
In its assertion, the Navajo Nation stated it expects FEMA to assist with COVID-19 vaccine distribution and supply medical tools in addition to medical personnel to administer vaccine doses and deal with COVID-19 sufferers.
The Navajo Nation started receiving vaccination shipments in December amid an alarming rise in circumstances. On December 3, the Nation despatched a proper request to former President Donald Trump to problem a catastrophe declaration and supply federal help to the group.
“We have been in a state of emergency since the pandemic began here on the Navajo Nation, but that has now elevated to a major health care crisis,” Nez, the president, stated in a press release at the moment.
How a lot funding the nation had requested – and the way a lot FEMA will now dispense after Biden’s order – was not specified on Wednesday.
“Navajo leaders have worked diligently to safeguard elders and other tribal members while working closely with partners to strengthen testing, deliver PPE and life-sustaining supplies, ensure medical treatment and now support vaccination efforts,” Robert J Fenton, FEMA’s performing administrator, stated within the assertion.
“The President’s major disaster declaration acknowledges the Navajo Nation’s ongoing needs, efforts and the strong nation-nation relationship we share,” he stated.