ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The first teams of skilled volunteers arrived in Alaska earlier this week to continue rebuilding efforts in four Interior communities affected by the 2013 floods. The State of Alaska has been working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure a speedy recovery on all fronts, which includes bringing volunteers to the state.
“We anticipate more than 500 men and women will spend their two-week vacations installing windows, doors, roofs, plumbing and other essential components,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie G. Nunn. “The collective focus is to get displaced families home, make damaged residences safe and secure for occupancy, and complete our mission by September.”
According to State Coordinating Officer Bryan Fisher, this is the first housing disaster in 20 years that required two building seasons in Alaska due to the severity.
“The safety of survivors has always been our priority whenever responding to a disaster,” Fisher said. “In 2013, the volunteer groups helped us immensely by ensuring the majority of those affected were able to return home before winter.”
Following the disaster and during the gap in construction seasons, the state provided temporary housing in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Galena for those unable to return home.
Nunn stated that 116 homes were repaired or rebuilt by survivors and skilled volunteers in 2013. The work last summer was conducted in six rural Alaskan communities including Alakanuk, Circle, Emmonak, Fort Yukon, Galena and Hughes. This summer, 48 homes will be repaired or rebuilt in Alakanuk, Circle, Emmonak and Galena. The primary agencies involved with rebuilding these communities this summer are the Disciples of Christ, Lutheran Ministries, Mennonite Disaster Service, Samaritan’s Purse and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission.
While many volunteers are paying their own way, the state and FEMA have partnered to help with in-state travel costs, as well as meals and accommodations while staying in affected communities. Faith-based organizations in Fairbanks and Anchorage are providing lodging, meals and local transportation for the teams before they travel to their designated communities.
Follow the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Twitter @AlaskaDHSEM and on Facebook. You can also follow the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Twitter @femaregion10.
FEMA recovery photos and videos can be found online by visiting www.fema.gov/disaster/4122, selecting “Blog, Newsroom, Videos and Photos,” and clicking on either “Photos” or “Videos” under the Multimedia Library section.