SUPAI, Ariz. (AP) — President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration made by the Havasupai tribe in northern Arizona, freeing up funds for flood damage as they prepare to reopen to tourists after nearly three years.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed on Sunday that federal emergency aid would be provided to supplement the tribe’s recovery efforts after severe flooding last October.
The funds will go to the tribe and certain nonprofit organizations to share the costs of emergency work and flood damage repairs.
It comes as the Havasupai Indian Reservation, which sits at the bottom of a gorge off the Grand Canyon, prepares to open its majestic blue-green waterfalls to visitors for the first time since March 2020. The tribe had closed for protect its members from the pandemic. Tribal officials have decided to extend the closure until the 2022 tourist season.
In a tourism update posted on its website last week, the tribe described how flooding had destroyed several bridges and left downed trees on paths needed by tourists and transporting goods and services to the village of Supai.
The tribe, however, also said they look forward to welcoming tourists back in February to see “thriving flora and fauna and new waterfalls”.
The Associated Press