Sleetmute and Red Devil have declared local disaster emergencies following flood damage

a community seen by plane
The upper Kuskokwim River community of Sleetmute as seen on May 10, 2022 following flood damage. (Olivia Ebertz/KYUK)

The upper Kuskokwim River communities of Sleetmute and Red Devil have both declared local disaster emergencies following flood damage the occurred on Sunday. The water has since receded, and the National Weather Service has ended its flood warning for the Kuskokwim River.

Tim Andreanoff lives in Sleetmute. He remembers the water rising fast, flooding his yard around 8 a.m. on Sunday.

“All of a sudden the water was just coming in so quickly. I had no time to move anything,” Andreanoff said.

The water swamped three snowmachines and a Yamaha boat motor. Andreanoff said that he had placed them beyond the usual flood point, but the water rose above that level.

“I can probably fix them. It’ll probably take about a week or more,” Andreanoff said, noting that it will depend on his ability to get parts. The water did not reach Andreanoff’s house, but others were not so lucky.

The state Emergency Operations Center reported that flood water inundated at least five homes in Sleetmute. Outside other homes, the water damaged insulation, freezers and vehicles. Also damaged are roads, the dump, the cemetery and Tribal equipment.

Downriver, in Red Devil, the state reported that flood waters damaged two roads, the runway, inundated a home and contaminated water wells.

Theresa Morgan said that the flooding has turned her home in Red Devil into an island after the water washed out a nearby road.

“Once all this is all over and the danger is gone, we have to go back and forth with a boat to go to the post office,” Morgan said.

The state Emergency Operations Center said that it is coordinating flood response with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and the Association of Village Council Presidents. It said that the Red Cross is coordinating with community leaders in Sleetmute to provide flood assistance.

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Anna Rose MacArthur is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.

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