‘That’s what we do’: Alaska National Guard responds to flooded communities
Inside the Gates
CROOKED CREEK, Alaska (KTUU) - In the communities of Circle and Crooked Creek, the recovery effort is getting some extra help this week from the Alaska National Guard.
Disastrous floods have inundated towns like Circle and Crooked Creek, causing Gov. Mike Dunleavy on May 13 to issue disaster declarations for communities along the Kuskokwim River and Yukon Rivers.
The Alaska National Guard quickly jumped into action doing what they do best — being Alaskans helping Alaskans.
“That’s what we do,” Col. Matthew Kirby said. “The amount of damage became clear that we were going to need to send Alaska National Guard and Alaska State Defense Force members to communities to assist with the recovery efforts.”
On May 14, staff from the Alaska State Defense Force began coordinating efforts for a response to the significant river flooding at the state’s Emergency Operation Center.
On May 22 and 23, 10 members of the Alaska National Guard and Alaska State Defense Force deployed to the communities of Circle and Crooked Creek.
“These communities had flooding throughout their towns and they really needed out help,” Kirby said.
Five members were deployed to each specific area. While in the field, service members worked with the state to respond to whatever cleanup assistance was needed.
“It can be anything from filling trash bags full of trash and debris, to cleaning out freezers, to setting up tents for responders and dislocated personnel to stay in. All those task were accomplished over the last two weeks,” Kirby said.
Guardsmen are currently in Crooked Creek preparing for follow-up work. Additional service members are on standby, waiting to see if a response is needed in the Lower Yukon area.
“This has been again, like I said, one of the worst floods in the last 50 years, and so we anticipate continued response efforts and continued involvement of the Alaska National Guard to help out in these efforts,” Kirby said.
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