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May 25th, 2004 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4634

AoA Provides $80,000 in Disaster Relief to Older Victims of Fires in California

Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging, Josefina G. Carbonell, recently awarded $40,000 to the California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc., and $40,000 to the Southern Indian Health Council, Inc. for Presidentially declared disasters in California, resulting from wildfires in November 2003.

As an aftermath of the extensive forest fires, the San Ysabel reservation, which is home to some 250 tribal members—35 of which are age 60 or over, needed reimbursement for their recovery effort. The San Pasqual reservation was also affected. It is home to 752 tribal members—83 of which are elderly. Older persons at these reservations were greatly affected by the fires, some lost their homes, became ill with smoke inhalation, which required hospitalization and many needed food, medication, transportation and shelter.

“AoA disaster relief funds provide critical disaster relief services and advocacy for older victims,” said Josefina G. Carbonell. “Many seniors living on reservations in the California area were devastated by the fires that occurred in November and are in need of food, clothing, water and temporary housing and heat. AoA’s award of these funds will help the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians and the Southern Indian Health Council increase their supportive services to older Californians who need assistance in rebuilding their lives,” said Carbonell.

" We know that seniors often take a bit longer to recover from disasters of this magnitude, and we want to be able to provide needed assistance to help them get back on their feet. Our funding fills in for services and activities that older people need that are not provided through other emergency resources," Carbonell added.

For additional information on AoA’s national disaster preparedness and response activities, please contact Irma Tetzloff at (202) 357-3525.