As the Navajo and Hopi Nations struggle to deal with snowstorms still affecting the Southwest, conditions on South Dakota’s Cheyenne Reservation – beset last week by blizzards and ice storms – are slowly improving.
But normal, as Andrea J. Cook of the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal reports, could still be weeks away. The reservation lost both power and water for days, and water is still scarce.
The community of Faith rented eight portable showers, which showed up yesterday and immediately proved highly popular with residents – who are using water from nearby Durkee Lake to flush their toilets.
Meanwhile, although the reservation community of Eagle Butte started getting water again on Wednesday, people still have to conserve it while reserves build back up. Two emergency shelters remain open.
“We took care of the elders, made them comfortable and kept them warm,” says health worker Marian Bagola.
Katherine Eagle Staff, a diabetic with a kidney transplant, is among the people using a shelter at an Eagle Butte nursing home.
“It was really cold, and there were no lights (at home),” Eagle Staff says. “It was hard to get around with only a flashlight.”
Still, people praised the way friends and neighbors have chipped in during the emergency.
“Everybody’s kept a real positive attidude,” says Faith police Chief Arlen Frankfurth.