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Contact:  Heather Handyside

May 5,  2014

(907) 350-4846

Begich Announces $1.3 Million in Federal Funding to Protect Galena Families from Flooding

FEMA Mitigation Funds to be used to Elevate Homes in Galena

U.S. Senator Mark Begich, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations, and the District of Columbia, today announced more than $1.3 million in federal resources will be directed toward flood protection for homeowners in Galena. The funding, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), will be matched with $430,000 from the State of Alaska.

“I’ve used my position on the Senate Emergency Management subcommittee to shine a spotlight on the flooding risk for communities along the Yukon and to make FEMA acknowledge Alaska’s unique needs,” said Begich.  “This money will not only help families who were impacted by the flooding last year, but also helps put protections in place for the future.  Instead of waiting until homes fill with water and dangerous evacuations are necessary, a proactive approach can help keep our communities safe and save money in the long term. I will continue to work with FEMA to ensure that the Agency remains committed to making smart investments before and after disasters.”

As a result of extreme flooding along the Yukon in 2013, over 200 homes were damaged or destroyed and 300 residents had to be evacuated to Fairbanks or Anchorage.  In June 2013, Begich wrote to the President and pressured the administration to ensure that Alaska received a Major Disaster declaration from FEMA. After the major disaster was declared on June 25, funds for response and recovery were made available to help Alaska communities.  Begich visited Galena shortly after the flooding and pressured FEMA officials to visit Alaska in order to understand the challenges of responding to disasters in the state. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate recently visited the state at the senator’s request and committed to making sure the Agency recognizes Alaska’s unique risks.

Through his role as the Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee with jurisdiction over FEMA, Senator Begich has convened hearings and panels to explore ways to incentivize individuals, governments, and the private sector to reduce the risks related to flooding, earthquakes, and severe storms. This common sense approach to addressing the nation’s hazards can save lives and save money.