PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s congressional delegation wrote letters to President Joe Biden in support of the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations’ requests for a major disaster declaration following winter storms that left six people dead.
The declaration would assist the tribes’ recovery from destruction that tribal leaders say could have been prevented if there had been more resources to assist people stranded by the December storms. The requests outline that the weather's severity blocked access to medical and heating supplies.
Both the Oglala Sioux and Rosebud Sioux tribes are asking for the declaration to address emergency costs and damages.
“The emergency operations conducted by the tribe reduced the storms’ impact and accelerated the recovery of tribal communities," U.S. Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds, and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, wrote in a letter to Biden on Thursday. "Despite these efforts, a number of tribal members remained trapped in their homes and were unable to access necessary supplies.”