New Mexico Delegation Pushes Trump Administration To Act On Navajo Nation Request For Major Disaster Declaration Amid Devastating Impacts Of COVID-19 Pandemic

New Mexico Delegation News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small are urging the Trump administration to take immediate action on Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez’s recent request for a major disaster declaration.

Tribal communities have been especially hard-hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a major disaster declaration is necessary for the Navajo Nation to address the ongoing public health and economic effects.

Since March, the Navajo Nation has invested over $4 million in Tribal funds to mitigate the COVID-19 public health emergency. According to recent data released by the Navajo Department of Health, the Navajo Nation has suffered 693 COVID-19-related deaths and 18,575 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“Long-standing health disparities in the Navajo Nation, such as disproportionate rates of pre-existing health conditions and chronically underfunded federal and Tribal health care facilities have exacerbated the effects of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation,” the New Mexico delegation wrote. “According to surge projections from the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, steep spikes in COVID-19 cases will soon severely overwhelm Navajo Nation health care facilities resulting in dire shortages of Personal Protective Equipment, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, and ventilators. Already, the Navajo Nation’s ICU beds are at 100% capacity.”

The delegation continued, “Due to the life and death nature of this crisis, we urge you to act without delay and approve the Navajo Nation’s request for a major disaster declaration. Native communities have disproportionally suffered throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency and it is imperative that the federal government upholds its trust and treaty obligations and provide full support to protect Tribal public health, economies and livelihoods.”

Read the full text of the letter here.