The coastal communities in Western Alaska have been devastated by record breaking flooding and winds over the past few days. Quyana to the public offices, tribal leaders, volunteers, emergency response teams, and agencies who worked to prepare communities and are now assisting to keep everyone safe. Your dedication and courage to help one another during this historical typhoon is testament to the strength of our villages.
I have witnessed firsthand the destruction in Nome and have been following the reports from all the villages in our district. The severe damage and loss of homes, subsistence boats, roads, airports, and other vital infrastructure is beyond compare. My prayers go out to all those whose communities and lives were ravaged by this storm.
I am grateful the Governor quickly declared a state disaster which will allow villages to exercise emergency powers to swiftly address immediate needs such as medical issues, drinking water, electricity, shelter, and other priorities to preserve life and public health.
However, the successive challenges many of our communities have been facing already from the loss of subsistence fishing, high fuel costs, food insecurity and health issues over the past several years, are now compounded by the devastation from Typhoon Merbok.
I strongly urge the Governor to quickly assess the damage across the coastal regions and, if the destruction is beyond the capability of the state, he must request immediate assistance from the President so that communities and families can receive federal disaster aid and support from FEMA to rebuild their lives.
When safe to do so, I encourage community officials to share information, pictures, and city disaster declaration resolutions with the State Emergency Operations Center at 907-428-7100 or email to:
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and other state and federal agencies are available to assist local response teams with health issues, power outages, transportation, food, water and shelter, and other infrastructure damage. Constituents can also reach out to my office for assistance:
Our villages are built of strong, resilient people and we will continue to work together and help each other to rebuild our communities. I will work with the local, state, and federal leaders to ensure communities receive the support they deserve.