Operation Storm Surge 2013 has been in effect on the Navajo Nation due to flooding caused by heavy rain in the Central Agency area. Arizona communities impacted include Chinle, Many Farms, Rock Point, Tselani/Cottonwood, Dennehotso, and Tonalea.
There are approximately 50 to 80 homes within the flash flood areas and many families are out of their homes.
The Navajo Nation opened a shelter in Chinle with the help of the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter. Red Cross volunteers will provide meals, snacks, bottled water and coffee, as well as cots and blankets to flooding victims, however, more volunteers are needed in these communities. Navajo families with children are sleeping outside due to mud, rain, mold and infestation.
Navajo Nation officials caution residents to be aware of floods and flooded roadways. Observe road closures and follow orders of local law enforcement personnel on scene. “This is for everyone’s safety,” Erny Zah states from the Office of the President and Vice President. “Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future.”
In addition to the flash flood warnings, the Navajo Division of Health cautions people to be aware of mosquitoes after the rain storms. West Nile Virus (WNV) causes an infection that is spread by mosquitoes. WNV infections generally occur during warm weather months when mosquitoes are active. Puddles or open water allow for mosquitoes to breed in standing water. Mosquitoes spread the virus when they bite people or other animals, such as horses. For prevention, use mosquito repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors.
Volunteers can contact the Navajo Nation Department of Emergency Management Emergency Operation Center at the following numbers: 505-371-8415, 505-371-8416, 505-371-8417.