FEMA sending trailers to Pine Ridge Reservation
PINE RIDGE (AP) — The federal government is sending trailers to South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where residents are still recovering from severe storms last spring.
Crews are delivering 50 Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers to the Oglala Sioux tribe to help tribal members affected by storms, straight-line winds and flooding over a three-week period in May.
The first two homes were shipped from Alabama and arrived at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City on Thursday. They'll be sent from there when tribal officials are ready for their arrival.
For now they're being housed in an old parking area for bombers, according to Dana Powell, who works with the base's Plans and Programs office.
"Now it's used for a good use," Powell said.
President Barack Obama in August declared the reservation a disaster, paving the way for federal aid that includes temporary housing, low-interest loans, grants for home repairs and disaster unemployment assistance.
"We've had more than 1,600 applications for assistance," FEMA spokesman Brian Hvinden said. "We have to go through the eligibility determinations on those, but we're hoping to help as many families as are eligible for our assistance."
Hvinden said the trailers are being sent to Pine Ridge for permanent use.