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Governor Parnell Declares Kuskokwim River Flooding a Disaster

State declaration activates recovery program

May 17, 2011, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today declared a state disaster for the spring break-up flooding that damaged Crooked Creek and Red Devil on the Kuskokwim River. The governor's declaration activates state disaster assistance programs designed to fund public and individual recovery efforts. 

"The destruction and damage to so many homes in Crooked Creek is deeply saddening," Governor Parnell said. "There is much work to be done to help Crooked Creek recover from this catastrophic event. With this declaration I have directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to activate the state's Public and Individual Disaster Assistance programs and utilize them to the maximum extent available under statutes."

The state's Public Assistance Program is designed to help state, local and tribal governmental entities, as well as certain private non-profit organizations, restore infrastructure damaged by a specific event to pre-disaster conditions. 

The state's Individual Assistance Program is designed to provide timely assistance to individuals or families to meet eligible disaster-related necessary expenses and serious unmet needs. In 2010, Governor Parnell introduced successful legislation tripling the maximum possible state Individual Assistance award. For the current year that maximum amount is $15,100.

"The water in Crooked Creek rose with amazing speed and reached levels that locals did not think possible," Governor Parnell said. "I am thankful that no one was hurt and that in addition to our state agencies, other organizations and agencies rushed to help the citizens of Crooked Creek. Donlin Creek Mine, the Red Cross, Alaska Village Council Presidents, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and others are doing a tremendous job providing support to the community during this event."

On May 9, Crooked Creek leadership contacted Donlin Creek Mine, Crooked Creek's nearest neighbor, and asked for evacuation support. Donlin Creek launched their aircraft and evacuated 54 people. On May 13, all evacuated residents were able to return with the support of sheltering facilities.

A copy of the disaster declaration is available at:

http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell_media/resources_files/051711_disasterdeclaration.pdf

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