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Navajo Nation low on water, approaching top 3 hot spots in US

Navajo Nation
Posted at 5:01 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-12 13:11:02-04

NAVAJO NATION, AZ — The Navajo Nation is expected to become one of the top three hot spots in the country per-capita for COVID-19 cases, as we're learning they're running low on water.

ABC15 confirms that the Arizona National Guard received a call this afternoon that the Navajo Nation needs water.

One family tells us they have to drive 18 miles to a chapter house for water, but they are beginning to reduce hours or shut down.

"It's pretty tough because the same vehicle you use to get water, you use to get hay for the animals and you have to use it to get groceries," said Becky Bizahaloni.

Bizahaloni worries about her 92-year-old grandmother who lives on native land, "I haven't even personally myself been able to hug my grandma."

Arizona's Director of Emergency and Military Affairs, Major General Michael McGuire, tells ABC15 that he received a call at noon on Friday that Navajo Nation needs water.

"We were notified today that there are issues with water distribution through the chapter house system on the Navajo Nation," said Major General McGuire.

ABC15 is learning the number of cases in Navajo Nation are creeping into the top three hot spots in the country, per-capita, behind New York and New Jersey.

The general said they will have potable water on its way this afternoon, as well as non potable water for livestock.

The US Surgeon General talking about Navajo Nation in their daily task force update, "we tell people to wash their hands, but a study shows 30% of the homes on Navajo Nation don't have running water, so how are they going to do that?”

Major General McGuire said he also made a formal request to FEMA to activate a US Reserves team to help staff the medical facilities they built on tribal land.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said in a press release Friday that additional supplies are on their way, "our tribal communities remain top of mind. I’ve been in touch with Navajo President Nez and Vice President Lizer about the need for additional supplies, personnel and ventilators. Arizona is committed to assisting all our tribes and providing all the state and federal resources they need to fight COVID-19 and protect their people.”

Navajo Nation will enter a 57-hour curfew beginning Friday at 8 p.m. and it will go until Monday at 5 a.m.