More than $1M headed to Western Alaska towns for storm recovery relief

More than $1M headed to Western Alaska towns for storm recovery relief
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 2:32 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Residents of Western Alaska communities in need of help following the devastation left behind by the massive mid-September storm will be receiving over $1 million in recovery funding.

The Alaska Community Foundation announced Monday that over $500,000 will be dispersed this week to towns that need it most, with the rest of the $1.25 million total to be handed out starting in early November.

The foundation, which works with philanthropic organizations and people, credited over 2,400 “generous individuals,” as well as numerous businesses, corporate sponsors and Alaska Native organizations for the funding, which was put into the Western Alaska Disaster Recovery Fund, established Sept. 17 by the foundation.

“The recovery funds will go a long way in the villages damaged by the storm,” Calista Corporation President and CEO Andrew Guy said in the release by the foundation. “The priority will be to repair the roofs and foundations of homes damaged by the storm and provide generators, heating stoves, and freezers lost to the flood waters.”

The storm — formed by the remnants of Typhoon Merbok — whipped up hurricane-force winds that hit communities stretching along the west coast of the state, creating storm surges that breached many towns and wreaked havoc on buildings and private cabins. Community leaders say the most destructive element of the storm was the number of fish cabins and winter food stocks that subsistence hunters compiled, which were wiped away by the storm surge.

The financial help is in addition to relief efforts already underway by government agencies such as the State Emergency Operations Center, American Red Cross of Alaska and Alaska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters, which on Sept. 30 announced that 14,000 pounds of relief supplies were sent to numerous towns and villages on the western coast of the state. The Coast Guard added that other supplies were sent to the area from nonprofit and volunteer organizations.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also sent housing inspectors to the communities of Stebbins, Chefornak and Golovin this week to take stock of who needs help and register them for FEMA housing assistance.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration for the storm on Sept. 17, before officially asking the federal government to step in to assist.

President Joe Biden’s administration authorized full federal funding to go towards helping recovery efforts on Sept. 23.

The Red Cross of Alaska also responded to Western Alaska communities,