Our hearts are with the families and communities impacted by the most devastating storm to hit our region. We are beyond grateful to our Tribal leaders, Mayors, unofficial community leaders, first responders and local volunteers who worked tirelessly over the last week to ensure that no lives were lost.
As we begin to pick up the pieces of this storm, we are seeing the true extent of the loss and destruction caused by Typhoon Merbok in Nome and throughout the region. Many campsites along the coast have been completely destroyed, a devastating loss of long-standing history and tradition for these families. The loss we are seeing is immeasurable, but we want our community to know that we are here to help.
Sitnasuak Native Corporation is actively engaged in clean up efforts, assisting our Shareholders and community at large. We have recently worked to clear a road at Fort Davis so that camp owners can access and assess the condition of their camps. The road to the Safety/Nuuk area is still closed and only accessible by ATV so we will focus our efforts on Fort Davis for now.
Beginning Wednesday, September 21st, Sitnasuak will have a dump truck parked at Fort Davis and one near Farley’s. Sitnasuak staff are actively out at Fort Davis with equipment, ready and available to assist campsite owners with recovery of personal items and removal of unwanted debris. They have started on the West end of Fort Davis and will be working East towards the end of the spit.
For us to provide the best service possible, it is important that campsite owners are available and on site to provide direction for cleanup. We understand that this is a difficult and emotional time, so we will plan to work individually with campsite owners to make sure we provide support in any way needed.
Amidst our focus on clean-up efforts, our staff has a plan in place to begin inventorying campsites and communicating with campsite owners. We have hired some additional staff to assist us immediately in our efforts. We stand ready to work together where possible, in helping to rebuild not only campsites and homes, but most importantly, the lives of our people in need.
Below are resources available to individuals and families impacted by the storm.
FEMA DISASTER ASSISTANCE
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance online at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ , by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by using the FEMA App.
ALASKA INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The Individual Assistance (IA) program provides financial assistance to disaster survivors to assist individuals and families in the declared disaster area with serious losses not covered or not fully covered by their insurance or other financial sources or means. Web applications are now available at https://ready.alaska.gov/Recovery/IA. Disaster Assistance Hotline Applications will be available by calling 1-844-445-7131, beginning Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
**Grants provided by the state are secondary to any federal assistance that are available to residents following President Joe Biden’s approval of the federal disaster declaration made by Gov. Dunleavy. Applications must be made to federal assistance programs before any request for aid can be made for state funds.
KAWERAK INC EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Available to assists qualifying tribal members residing in the Bering Strait Region who were impacted. Families must first register with the American Red Cross at 1-800-REDCROSS then they can contact Kawerak at 907-443-4370 or 907-443-4367. Kawerak’s assistance program is for income-eligible tribal members only.
NOME ESKIMO COMMUNITY EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Tribal members of Nome Eskimo Community and tribes located outside of the Bering Strait Region who reside in Nome can apply for Emergency Assistance through Nome Eskimo Community (NEC) by contacting them at 907-443-2246.