A state disaster declaration was declared by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Monday for communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers that are already flooded due to river ice jams. Glennallen has also had snow melt flooding in areas of the community near Moose Creek.
“We will make sure flood impacted communities receive critical life-saving assistance while we simultaneously provide information and warnings to those who could still be impacted by ice jams. This is a dynamic situation that is changing on an hour-by-hour basis,” Dunleavy said.
Communities identified in the declaration as eligible for assistance include the Alaska Gateway Regional Education Attendance Area (REAA), including the city and Native Village of Eagle; the Yukon Flats REAA, including Circle; the Kuspuk REAA, including Crooked Creek; and Copper River REAA, including Glennallen. Additional communities might be added based on developing needs.
Disaster declaration funds are to reimburse communities for eligible emergency protective measures and activates the state’s Public Assistance and Individual Assistance disaster recovery programs.
Public assistance funds will help communities and some nonprofits to restore critical infrastructure to pre-disaster levels, and can also reimburse emergency response costs. Individual assistance funds can provide individuals and households with disaster recovery grants and temporary housing assistance if primary residences are impacted.
Meanwhile, the state’s Emergency Operations Center has deployed emergency management specialists to support response for impacted communities along the Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers systems and Glennallen.
River Watch, a partnership between the National Weather Service Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center and the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is conducting aerial observations of ice conditions and providing information to communities along the river systems.
The state’s Emergency Operation Center has been activated to Level 3, Active Incident Response, and is already coordinating with various entities ranging from the Alaska State Troopers; the departments of Environmental Conservation, Homeland Security, and Emergency Management; the Tanana Chief’s Conference; Association of Village Council Presidents; and Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp.
The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Wednesday issued preliminary community damage reports from flooded areas, including multiple homes in Crooked Creek with four pushed off of their foundations, and 15 homes in Circle flooded with three or more off of their foundations. Multiple homes and public buildings, plus a grocery store were flooded in Glennallen. Fort Yukon also had flooding around public buildings and some homes flooded, and two to four homes were inundated at Red Devil. The American Red Cross, as well as the Tanana Chefs Conference, Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp., and Donlin Gold were providing food and other forms of assistance.