Shiprock Chapter to hear flood cleanup update

Noel Lyn Smith

FARMINGTON — Shiprock Chapter officials will devote part of Sunday's chapter meeting to informing members about efforts to clean an area left heavily damaged after a storm last month.

Family members and friends gather at the site of a damaged homes on Aug. 6 in the Salt Creek Wash area of north Shiprock.

Chapter President Duane "Chili" Yazzie said the chapter’s Authorized Local Emergency Response Team will share information about work to clear debris, the degree of damage caused by flooding and efforts to find shelter for displaced residents.

"ALERT has been the one on the scene since Day One," Yazzie said.

Since the Aug. 5 flood, the chapter has submitted resolutions to various tribal officials in Window Rock, Ariz., including Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye's office, that call for housing and assessments to prevent future flooding.

"I'm hopeful the president will respond to some of those resolutions we have submitted," Yazzie said.

Part of the communication effort between the chapter and the executive office included inviting the president and his staff to Sunday's meeting, which is scheduled to start at noon at the Shiprock Chapter house. President's office spokesman Mihio Manus said executive staff assistants will attend the meeting.

With cleanup efforts coming to an end, the focus turns toward addressing the future need of impacted families and replacing 13 homes, Yazzie said. Because some residences housed multi-generational families, approximately 50 people have been displaced, he said.

Eric Trevizo, vice president of ALERT, said as of Friday, five homes were demolished in the area of Mesa Farm and Salt Creek Wash, and the area is 90 percent cleaned.

Workers clear debris on Aug. 6 after the Salt Creek Wash flooded in north Shiprock.

In the Fifth Lane area, three houses were demolished, and debris has been removed from 50 percent of the area, Trevizo said.

In other locations, landowners have cleared debris with some assistance from ALERT members, he said.

ALERT members also received help from entities such as the San Juan County Fire Department, the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management, and the community emergency response teams from Red Valley and Tsé Alnaozt'i'í chapters, Trevizo said.

Both Yazzie and Trevizo said the president's office assisted some families in obtaining housing from the Navajo Housing Authority and the Chaco River Apartments in Shiprock.

Other families made arrangements to live with extended family members, officials said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.