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Disaster declarations issued by governor

Seward landslide, spring flooding, Galena fire hall collapse to receive assistance
Trees and debris fall into Resurrection Bay during the Lowell Point landslide on Saturday
Trees and debris fall into Resurrection Bay during the Lowell Point landslide on Saturday(Photo courtesy Patrick Higgins)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 3:54 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued three separate disaster declarations on Friday for the Lowell Point landslide, spring flooding, and the Galena fire hall roof collapse.

In a press release, Dunleavy stated that public and individual assistance would be available for residents.

“We have declared three disaster declarations that are now eligible for disaster recovery programs to ensure Alaskans have the proper resources to combat the after-effects of the floods, landslides, and collapses this year,” Dunleavy said. “As always, I am impressed with how Alaskans persevere no matter the situation – I am encouraged to see so many communities, tribal organizations, and volunteer organizations step up to help each other. Please apply for this disaster-related assistance that we have activated.”

The Lowell Point landslide occurred on May 7, blocking the only road south of Seward to the community of Lowell Point. The massive slide was triggered as emergency crews were working to clean up a smaller landslide on the road. The landslide is estimated at 300 feet long and 300 feet wide and Seward City Clerk Brenda Ballou said that Metco Alaska is working to clear the debris.

On Friday, an ordinance was discharged at approximately 3 p.m. on Friday to help loosen the landslide debris. Kenai Peninsula Borough Emergency Manager Brenda Ahlberg said that a meeting will be held — and live-streamed — at 7 p.m. tonight in Seward to alert residents of the plan moving forward, and how they may transport their vehicles out of Lowell Point. Ahlberg said that over 50 vehicles are stranded in Lowell Point on the other side of the landslide.

“The borough is supporting their efforts,” Ahlberg said. “That coordination includes the ability to coordinate any kind of resources that are requested from the city to the state, and right now we’re on scene just do some additional evaluation.”

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce issued a disaster declaration Friday to help direct resources to those affected by the landslide that buried Lowell Point Road last Saturday.

The slide also trapped approximately 200 people on the south side of the road, as well as many vehicles. Chance Miller, co-owner of Miller’s Landing in Lowell Point said that the water taxi services provided by Miller’s Landing boats and staff had shuttled approximately 1,000 people since last weekend.

As rivers melt, ice jams have caused flooding in multiple Alaskan communities. Yesterday, the Alaska National Guard announced that they were sending five soldiers to assist the residents of Manley Hot Springs with clearing flood debris. Flooding in the community approximately 150 miles west of Fairbanks began on May 7 and subsided shortly after once the ice jam had been broken up. However, approximately 45 residents of 25 Manley Hot Springs homes have been displaced.

Included in Dunleavy’s disaster declaration are the residents of Sleetmute and Red Devil in the Kuspuk Regional Education Assistance Area, Glennallen residents and McGrath residents who have also dealt with spring floods.

Also along the Yukon River, heavy snow and ice caused the roof of the Galena fire hall to collapse on Feb. 24.

“State Public Assistance funding will help restore Galena’s fire infrastructure before winter,” the release said.

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