ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – One year has passed since the thunder of ballistic ice loomed over several Interior Alaskan communities that witnessed record-level floods in May 2013. Today, the sound of hammers, saws and power tools heralds in the start of construction season as volunteers and residents work to complete recovery efforts initiated last summer in Alakanuk, Circle, Emmonak and Galena.
“Getting survivors back into their homes has been the joint goal,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie G. Nunn. “Despite last year’s short construction season, 116 homes were repaired or rebuilt by survivors and skilled volunteers. This summer, 48 homes will be repaired or rebuilt by skilled volunteers in four communities.”
Volunteers from Samaritan’s Purse and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission have been in Galena since early June. In addition to Alakanuk, Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers will begin work in Circle with the assistance of Amish volunteers later this month. Disciples of Christ volunteers arrive in Emmonak in mid-July.
State Coordinating Officer Bryan Fisher added that a number of homes in Galena are being elevated to 136.5 feet to withstand future flooding, well above the local ordinance and three feet above the 2013 flood level.
According to Fisher, in addition to extensive support from the State of Alaska, federal assistance to eligible individuals and communities has surpassed $27.5 million.
“The collective efforts of the skilled volunteers, the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local officials who have been part of the recovery effort should help ensure the long-term sustainability of the affected Bush communities whose roots run deep along the banks of the Yukon,” Fisher said.
Federal Assistance by the Numbers:
Individual Assistance $ 3.49 million
U.S. Small Business Administration $ 4.10 million
Public Assistance $ 17.30 million
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program $ 2.65 million