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Volunteers search through shoreline debris, clean up garbage from landslide

“I think everyone is longing for a way to help and be useful,” said 30-year-old resident Knikki Cinocco.
Clean up garbage from landslide
Clean up garbage from landslide(KTUU)
Published: Dec. 6, 2020 at 1:40 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As Haines deals with a devastating landslide, volunteers in town have answered the call to help their community.

On Sunday morning, several teams combed through debris on the shoreline.

Clean up garbage from landslide
Clean up garbage from landslide(KTUU)

In one area that had been searched, a lone winter boot was buried in the snow, marked with red tape; volunteers had collected the other one and returned it to the Emergency Operations Center.

Kaitlyn Tolin and Knikki Cinocco were eager to start cleaning up the trash like insulation.

“We’ve lost friends who are gone. Our entire community is at risk right now. Both of us are blessed to be in a home that’s safe. At that point it’s important to reach out to your community,” Cinocco said

Tolin said it’s difficult to see the items that used to belong in the four homes that have been destroyed by the slides.

A few days ago, they found a freezer still packed with fish.

“The door had been ripped off, most of the food was gone but there was still some food in the freezer. That was pretty surreal because you look in there and people were accessing that fridge four hours ago as normal and it’s almost like you can feel the energy of the humans that lived in that house,” Tolin said.

Interim Borough Manager Alekka Fullerton estimates more than 100 people have signed up to volunteer in some way.

“They are ready to mobilize and a lot of them are doing things without being asked,” Fullerton said.

Icy rain covered up several inches of snow on Sunday morning. Fullerton left her house to find people had made her commute into work a little easier.

“Woke up to neighbors had plowed our driveway, had plowed out our car, had us ready to hit the ground again this morning,” Fullerton said.

Volunteers are doing whatever they can to help. Fullerton said that includes driving the shuttles to get people from the ferry terminal to the rapid COVID testing site and volunteer flagging at the construction areas around town.

“That’s Haines. We take care of each other, we show up,” Fullerton said. “That’s our greatest strength.”

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