Governor declares disaster for Western Alaska communities

thanlon@adn.comNovember 16, 2013 

Gov. Sean Parnell declared a state of disaster Saturday for Western Alaska communities battered by a series of storms this past week.

The declaration comes after floodwaters, ice floes and high winds downed communication lines in Stebbins and destroyed sewer and water lines and forced more than 200 people to evacuate their homes in Kotlik.

Parnell surveyed the extent of the storm damage and met with residents and community leaders Saturday in Unalakleet and Kotlik to hear the public's concerns before making the declaration, according to a prepared statement from Parnell's office.

"Those concerns focused on the well-being of the elders, water/sewer issues and lost food stores," it said.

Parnell's office said that communities in the Northwest Arctic Borough and in the Bering Straits and Lower Yukon regions have reported effects from the storm.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich sent a letter to Parnell urging him to declare the region a disaster.

The declaration triggers federal funding and resources from the Disaster Relief Fund to repair public infrastructure and some individual homes, the administration said.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.


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