President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for the Cahuilla Native American tribe of Southern California on March 28. The tribe will now be able to get federal help to rebuild.

The president declared that a major disaster has existed for the Cahuilla tribe since Feb. 14, when the Mojave Desert region of California was hit with severe storms and flooding. He ordered federal aid to supplement the tribe’s rebuilding efforts in the areas affected by severe storms.

Funding is available on a cost-sharing basis to the Cahuillas and also certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and repair or replacement of structures damaged during the natural disasters. There is a certain percentage that federal aid will cover, while those applying for funds will also have to share a percentage of the cost to rebuild and repair.

Severe Weather

The storms deluged Southern California mid-February, moving south soon after hitting northern parts of the state and southern Oregon.

Weather had been so severe that officials ordered people to leave areas burned bare by summer wildfires in the Santa Ana mountains, according to various local news outlets.

The Cahuilla Band of Native Americans have inhabited the Mojave Desert region in California for at least 2,500 years. There are nine tribes in the band inhabiting various parts of the region.

The tribe began construction of a new gambling complex to replace its existing casino in Anza in mid-October of last year. There was no damage to the Cahuilla Casino in February, according to staff at the complex. Flooding affected Cahuilla residential territories north of the complex.

One Mojave Desert resident affected by the floods tweeted a photo of the mud-covered road in front of her house because of the flash floods. Structures in direct path of flash flood torrents were also inundated with mud.

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