WASHINGTON, D.C. ― In a letter to the President of the United States, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham expressed support for Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye’s request for a major disaster declaration in response to August flooding that occurred on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock.
“This rainstorm caused severe flooding and prompted evacuation of the primary flood area in Shiprock where the flood waters displaced boulders, trees, fences, and other like objects and carried them into and up against houses and obstructed local roads,” the delegation wrote in the letter sent earlier this week. “Native communities deserve full and complete protection of their resources, land, and livelihoods. Recovering from this incident will require a full and coordinated approach.”
Shiprock was hit by heavy rainfall Aug. 3-5. According to President Begaye’s letter, flooding destroyed housing and demolition of damaged structures has taken place. However, half of the resulting debris has still not been removed. The Navajo Nation’s disaster response capacity was already taxed in this area due to the Gold King Mine spill’s impact on the Shiprock community.