“Access to water is a human right that has been denied our people for far too long,” said Janene Yazzie, New Mexico Lead. “Now we are dealing with the repercussions of that and it’s costing the lives of our precious loved ones. As we grapple with this epidemic we will not lose sight of the need to have this basic human right fulfilled and our responsibility to protect our sacred waters for food sovereignty and water security for future generations.”
With an average of 30 percent of residents of the Navajo-Hopi territory having limited to no access to running water, and many without access to electricity, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified a decades-long infrastructure crisis. One-third of Navajo and Hopi families in the territory must travel miles to haul water, while only 16 grocery stores and small food markets serve the entire area. Yet as COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation continue to increase, the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund is building momentum to address a food and water crisis in the area.