Western Alaska Residents Await Disaster Relief Money

President Obama has declared November’s storms in Western Alaska a natural disaster.

The storms inflicted heavy damage on Kotlik and Stebbins, and created problems in other Bering Straits communities.

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Jeremy Zidek with the state Department of Homeland Security says the announcement is significant because it means the U.S. government will foot 75 percent of the bill for public repairs.

“Damages to roads, boardwalks, utilities, other public infrastructure, critical facilities – perhaps like a clinic or school that was damaged, so it’s really to help the community to recover,” Zidek said.

The state provides assistance to individuals and households to help re-coop lost property. Those funds have not yet made it to people in Stebbins. Part of the reason is that the state extended the deadline for applying for assistance until last Friday.

Leaders in Stebbins are finalizing a list of funding priorities for public assistance money. that list includes building a new mitigating seawall, plotting a second evacuation route and accelerating air-strip and water system updates.