State sending supplies to flooded communities

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) 5-09

Ice jams from spring breakup continue to slowly move down the Yukon River, inundating small villages along the way.

The National Weather Service says the ice jam broke May 11 near Stevens Village, where severe flooding has been reported. Most village residents had been evacuated.

A majority of homes in Stevens Village were reported to have water in them, said Dave Andrews, operations sector chief with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

A group of 20 people remained after weekend evacuations, and they have taken shelter at the school. They have requested the state send food, water and a power generator to establish another shelter at a building that doesn’t currently have power.

A flood warning remained in effect on the Yukon River from below Beaver to Tanana.

“We got minor flooding in some other communities, but Stevens Village on the Yukon is big on our radar right now,” Andrews said.


Farther upstream, cleanup continues in the town and nearby village of Eagle, about 200 miles east of Fairbanks. Flooding and ice essentially destroyed Eagle Village, a traditional Han Kutchin Indian village, and heavily damaged the city of Eagle, interior Alaska’s first incorporated city in 1897 and the home of Fort Egbert, a National Historic Landmark.

Gov. Sarah Palin toured the damage in Eagle, accompanied by John Madden, director of the state Division of Homeland Security, said Palin’s spokeswoman Sharon Leighow.

Andrews said the state emergency management team is on the ground in Eagle “and will be there quite some time.”

“They’re probably the hardest hit, to date,” he said.

Flooding also remains a concern in western Alaska along the Kuskokwim River, where the communities of Akiak, Akiachak, Kwethluk, Bethel, Oscarville and Napakaik are under a flood warning.

An ice jam released below Akiak, and is moving down river, the National Weather Service said. Water levels were falling in Akiak, but were rising in communities downstream, from Akiachak to Napakiak.

The state had evacuated some at-risk residents of Akiak over the weekend. Some returned home to begin cleaning up. Andrews said the state was trying to fulfill needs of residents there, basic staples ranging from drinking water and food to diapers and dog food.

“One of the resource requests was a gallon of water a day for three days for 350 people,” Andrews said.