Begich Urges Disaster Declaration for Coastal Communities

Help needed for Kotlik, Unalakleet and other coastal communities

In a letter sent to Alaska Governor Sean Parnell today U.S. Senator Mark Begich urged the State of Alaska to issue a disaster declaration for communities damaged by the severe winter storms that have hammered the Alaska coastline in recent days causing floods, evacuations and infrastructure damage. 

“My office has been in contact with elected officials and tribal leaders in the region and the situation is dire,” said Sen. Begich.  “Elders are being evacuated by boat.  Communities don’t have access to water because their water systems have been destroyed.  Residents of at least one village are being vaccinated because of potential contamination from ruptured sewer lines.  I hope the State of Alaska issues a disaster declaration soon so that resources, personnel and supplies can be sent to the region.”

When disasters like flooding, wildfire or earthquakes occur, the State of Alaska must issue a disaster declaration before sending response and recovery resources.  Once the disaster declaration is issued Sen. Begich, in his role as chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Emergency Management, can push for a quick federal disaster declaration from the President in order to free up federal resources like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Coast Guard.