President Biden approves Arizona’s major disaster request for July flooding

Sep 13, 2021, 2:14 PM | Updated: Sep 14, 2021, 12:25 pm
(City of Flagstaff Photo)...
(City of Flagstaff Photo)
(City of Flagstaff Photo)

PHOENIX – President Joe Biden on Monday approved Arizona’s request to declare a major disaster over monsoon flooding earlier this summer and ordered federal financial assistance.

State, local and tribal governments and certain private nonprofit organizations will receive the funding on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and repair or replacement of facilities in the aftermath of July 22-24 storms and flooding in Apache, Coconino and Navajo counties, according to a press release.

Funding will also be available for statewide hazard mitigation measures.

Per the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, “All requests for a declaration by the president that a major disaster exists shall be made by the governor of the affected state.”

Biden’s major disaster approval came a week after 10 members of Arizona’s 11-person congressional delegation sent the president a letter urging him to approve Gov. Doug Ducey’s Sept. 2 request.

“Up to 4 inches of rain fell on a burn scar from a recent fire, increasing the severity of flooding,” the Sept. 7 letter said.

“The intensity of this monsoon season and anticipated future storms in the region have severely affected communities, with streets where children once played transformed into storm channels by concrete barriers and sandbags. Without federal support, these communities will be unable to recover.”

The letter was signed by seven Democrats — Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly and Reps. Tom O’Halleran, Ann Kirkpatrick, Raúl Grijalva, Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton – and three Republicans – Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and David Schweikert.

Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko was the only Arizona Congress member who didn’t sign the letter.

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President Biden approves Arizona’s major disaster request for July flooding