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FEMA to Provide Additional $2.5 Million of Mitigation Funding for Galena

Begich Uses Seat on Homeland Security Committee to Push for Additional Funds

U.S. Senator Mark Begich was pleased to learn this week that an additional $2.5 million in FEMA assistance will be directed to fund the elevation of 16-17 homes in Galena. This announcement comes less than a month after a similar package of mitigation funding was announced for elevations in the flood ravaged community.

“The people of Galena have shown incredible resilience over the last year and have worked hard to rebuild their community,” said Begich. “I pushed for a disaster declaration and I’ve continued to urge FEMA to move swiftly to address any challenges residents are facing. Unfortunately, we know the flooding of 2013 can happen again at any time—but these new funds will help reduce the risks associated with future extreme weather.”

The announcement of this new money comes at a critical time, as the rebuilding continues and residents make critical decisions as to the path forward for new construction.

Last year’s flooding along the Yukon River inundated the City of Galena and destroyed or damaged almost 90 percent of the village structures. By funding the elevation of residential properties, FEMA is supporting a major investment in risk reduction and helping community members avoid similar damage in the future. Elevating homes can help reduce or eliminate the need for dangerous evacuations and will help homeowners avoid costly repairs the next time the flood waters rise.

Begich wrote to the President and the FEMA administrator following the flooding to urge approval of a disaster declaration. A declaration was made soon after and federal aid was mobilized to support response and recovery efforts. In August, Begich visited Galena to see the devastation first hand. Through his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee with jurisdiction over FEMA, Begich spent the summer and fall pressuring FEMA officials to address the unique challenges of disaster response and recovery in the Arctic. At Begich’s invitation, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate visited Alaska last month to observe some of the state’s unique challenges in addressing natural disasters.

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