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Navajo Nation Declares State of Emergency Following Storms

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The Navajo Nation has declared a state emergency. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the recent wave of winter storms has created dangerous travel conditions throughout the reservation. 


The declaration signed by Navajo President Russell Begaye went into effect Tuesday. It allows tribal chapter governments to access emergency funds for repairing impassable muddy roads damaged by the storms. Begaye says school busses have become stuck, and many residents are stranded in their homes.

The declaration pays for deliveries of wood, water, food and medication, and wellness checks for at-risk people who live in remote locations. Begaye has also urged tribal members to check in on their neighbors and the elderly.

Thirteen of the Navajo Nation’s 110 chapters declared separate weather-related emergencies. Tribal officials say no loss of life, injury or property damage has resulted from the storms, but most chapters haven’t yet reported in. 

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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