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Alaska News

FEMA extends disaster assistance deadline for Alaska earthquake victims, citing spring thaw

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: March 25
  • Published March 25

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2018, file photo, Dennis Keeling, of Instant Services, measures for a broken window at an auto parts store following an earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska Seven weeks after the massive earthquake struck Alaska, the seemingly endless aftershocks are keeping many residents filled with anxiety. (AP Photo/Mike Dinneen, file)

Property owners with earthquake damage from the Nov. 30 earthquake in Southcentral Alaska now have until May 31 to file claims for federal disaster assistance.

The deadline had been April 1. In a statement, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he requested an extension because homeowners could uncover damage in the spring thaw.

“The extension gives property owners time to look for new or hidden damage, apply for federal disaster assistance, make the necessary repairs and get their lives back in order,” Dunleavy said in a Monday statement released by his office.

In recent weeks, some Southcentral Alaska homeowners with structural damage have expressed confusion and frustration at the disaster relief process, saying they received far less aid than they were led to expect.

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, say the grants cover minimum repairs to make a home safe and habitable, and the money only repairs damage from the Nov. 30 event. They urged residents to exhaust their appeal options. The U.S. Small Business Administration, meanwhile, is offering low-interest loans up to $200,000 for homeowners and $2 million for businesses, though not all qualify.

About 6,600 people have registered with FEMA so far. More than 14,000 households applied for state aid before the Feb. 28 deadline. Homeowners who applied for state aid do have to register separately with FEMA, and won’t be eligible for state aid without first working through FEMA and the SBA.

On Monday, the Alaska Senate passed a bill authorizing an additional $35 million in individual disaster aid and housing assistance. That measure now heads to the House of Representatives.

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