WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday approved major disaster declarations for two South Dakota reservations that were hit with severe winter storms from December 12 - December 25, 2022.

The snowstorm was devastating for many families living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. The storm brought more than 30 inches of snow and strong winds that caused snow drifts up to 12 feet high in parts of the reservations, which made several reservation roads become impassable. 

The impassable roads proved to be deadly for a 12-year-old boy on the Rosebud Indian Reservation because emergency first responders could not reach his home. He had a preexisting undisclosed medical condition.

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Monday’s order allows for federal aid that will be directed to the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Rosebud Sioux Tribe through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds. The funds will be disbursed to supplement both tribes’ efforts in the affected areas impacted by the severe winter storms. Additional funding will be available to certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe snowstorms.

In addition, federal funding is available to the Oglala Sioux Tribes and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe on a cost-sharing basis for snow assistance for a continuous 48-hour period during or proximate to the incident period.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell named Alana B. Kuhn as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas. 

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