|  September 16, 2014  |  
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Foster, Olson Thank Governor, Tribes, Local Volunteers for Interior Flooding Help

NOME–Senator Donny Olson, D-Golovin, and Representative Neal Foster, D-Nome, today thanked Governor Sean Parnell, the Tanana Chiefs Conference(TCC), local volunteers, and the various state divisions involved in the rescue and clean up caused by the flooding in Interior villages.  Late last week, Governor Parnell signed a disaster declaration for the flooded communities.

"We are thankful no one was injured and very thankful for the quick response from the TCC and local volunteers for being first responders in this dangerous and devastating disaster,” said Senator Olson.  “Now, our focus is on rebuilding Galena and making sure we do everything we can to help members of that community become whole again.”

“In addition, we would like to thank the Governor for getting personally involved in this and to thank the Tanana Chiefs Conference for its rapid and effective rescue efforts,” said Representative Foster.  “Special thanks are due to Chris Reitan, Adam White, Faith Bible Fellowship, Samaritan’s Purse, and others for their efforts to successfully evacuate over 135 people.”

The flooding in Galena has started subsiding now that the ice jam at Bishop Rock has released.  This flooding event displaced most of the local population, the majority of which were evacuated to other communities, and affected over 75 percent of the community infrastructure. 

As the flood waters recede, the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will assess the damage and start repairs. According to the division, emergency response priorities in Galena are restoring essential services and access, reestablishing regular freight service and establishing transitional shelter services. The airport is operational and work has begun to start restoring sewer/water, electricity, and phone service. Food, water and hygiene supplies are being flown in. 

“If you are an affected resident you should contact Disaster Assistance Individual Assistance Chief Rebecca Lopez at 907-428-7052. We have asked that the Governor sign a disaster declaration and he has done so. We have also asked that the state take whatever preemptive steps they can for potential downriver flooding,” Foster said. 

To see more emergency help information from the TCC, please click here.

While the flooding was particularly bad in Galena, this spring break up has affected a vast swath of the interior of the State including: Eagle, Circle, Fort Yukon, Hughes, and the area of Sourdough. As such the Governor’s declaration includes these area’s specifically and the Alaska Gateway REAA, the Yukon Flats REAA, the Yukon-Koyukuk REAA, and the Copper River REAA.

The department issued the following information regarding donations:

  • Cash is best; most organizations that collect donations accept monetary contributions.
  • General item donations can be made to local volunteer agencies that regularly accept them. They can then move goods based upon specific demand of displace residents.
  • Volunteer agencies deploy volunteers in an organized manner. Spontaneous unaffiliated volunteering can be difficult to incorporate and potentially dangerous to workers. If interested in volunteering, contact a local volunteer agency about how to sign up, receive training and be prepared for all future disaster events.

An account is also being set up through Wells Fargo to help the communities rebuild.  More information will be released when the details become available.

For more information contact Carolyn Kuckertz in the Senate Majority Press Office at (907) 748-7714.

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