Repairs for coastal villages affected by flooding from recent storms are expected to cost millions of dollars.
After touring Unalakleet and Kotlik, Governor Sean Parnell declared a disaster on Saturday for the communities impacted by the floods that followed a series of storms.
A large effort is underway to make repairs in the villages quickly.
The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says it is working with the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, Salvation Army, and Team Rubicon along with state agencies to help damaged communities.
The department says out of the villages that declared disasters, Kotlik will likely cost the most to repair.
Fixing Kotlik’s infrastructure alone is estimated to cost about 3 million dollars.
State emergency officials say the Red Cross evaluated 31 homes in Kotlik and found that nine of them had damage to the foundation, but were still livable.
Officials say the department is in communication with 19 communities, but Kotlik, Unalakleet and Stebbins were among the most damaged.
Unalakleet reported seven houses that were damaged, but all remained livable.
Stebbins reported two houses that were unlivable.
Residents in Kotlik say they’re grateful the state is stepping in to help piece their community back together.
Joe Uisok says it was important for the governor to get a firsthand look at the damage.
“We appreciate him for approving the disaster for the village,” Uisok said.
As of Sunday, no one besides Red Cross volunteers were reported to be staying at the school in Kotlik, which was used to house evacuated residents last week.
The school’s instructional leader, David Harris says the last family left on Saturday and he hopes to resume classes on Monday after students missed a full week of school.
“That’s sad to say that there were more important things than the education of a child, but there were just more important things going on at that point…families recovering, families regrouping, families who could not return to a house,” Harris said.
Harris said community members were working on taking apart the basketball court that was carried away onto the sewage pipes during weekend storms.
Harris says the biggest need in Kotlik is replacements for snowmachines and ATVs that were damaged.
He also says it’s possible they may need help with counseling because of the trauma some residents endured while dealing with the water and ice.