ROSEBUD RESERVATION, S.D. (KELO) — As parts of KELOLAND are hit by yet another storm, there are people who have yet to dig out from last week’s snow. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is doing everything it can, but the ongoing weather is proving to be just too much.
KELOLAND News spoke with the chief of Mission Volunteer Fire & Rescue and the the Rosebud Sioux Tribe emergency manager. They say large snow drifts and strong winds are making it difficult to get to people who need help — some of which are now out of food, propane to heat their homes, or in need of medical attention.
“There’s zero visibility out there in areas. There’s people still out and about. We have a no-travel advisory right now. So the conditions warrant only emergency services right now,” Rosebud Sioux Tribe emergency manager Robert Oliver said.
While the wintry weather slowed down the last few days, officials have been working around the clock to deliver heaters, propane and firewood to those stranded.
Keith Lavery is the chief of Mission Volunteer Fire & Rescue.
“I was at a fire call last night way south in Soldier Creek, and a lady there had no propane, no wood and she was trying to heat her house with the oven, so she had her oven door open, and that’s what people are doing whatever they got to do to get by,” he said.
Feeding South Dakota sent 1,200 boxes of food to the Rosebud Reservation on Tuesday.
“We’ve been out trying to do food boxes. We try to get supplies for the kids, pampers and whatnot. Some of these places we’ve been having to walk through drifts and pull sleds just to get to people’s homes,” Lavery said.
Oliver says there have been some deaths and that at least four communities didn’t have power for up to three to five days. They’ve opened shelters in St. Francis and Mission.
They also have an incident command post that’s been active since last Monday. Oliver says the American Red Cross has provided some assistance and they are in talks with FEMA to declare an emergency.
“We’ve got a lot of great people out here that are risking their lives and putting everything on the line trying to get to everybody that’s out, so if you don’t have to be out so that we don’t have to risk our life for you, that way we can prioritize for other people,” Lavery said.
“We’re prioritizing everything. We know that there’s people out there who are stranded in their vehicles right now and we’re going to be making our way to you as soon as we can, but right at the present moment, please stay home. Stay off the road. Stay warm as much as you can, and we’ll do everything we can to help you,” Oliver said.
Lavery also reminds people to be careful with heaters, which could get too hot and cause a fire.
For those in need of assistance because of the storm on the Rosebud Reservation, Oliver says to call the Incident Command Post at (605) 747-2559, (605) 747-2444 or (605) 747-2401.