The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has disbursed more than $3.3 million to help Western Alaskans rebuild after ex-typhoon Merbok struck the coast a month ago.
According to a recent email update from FEMA, 422 Alaskans have been approved to receive individual assistance thus far. A third of the awarded funds – $1.12 million – have gone to housing assistance while over $2.1 million has been disbursed to cover other needs, such as subsistence equipment and replace furniture.
FEMA notes it cannot cover damaged or destroyed fish camps, but the State of Alaska assistance can go towards rebuilding those structures.
During last week’s Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, some attendees told KNBA radio that the individual assistance being awarded by FEMA is just a drop in the bucket. It isn’t enough to cover a 4-wheeler or snow machine, let alone the cost of building materials.
According to FEMA, the agency is providing a “shipping supplement” of $1,300 within the housing grant to help Western Alaskans cover shipping costs. FEMA says so far, a total of $143,236 has been provided to 104 households for housing assistance specifically.
|IA Daily Snapshot 10/24/22 at 8:00 AM AKDT|
|IHP $ Approved||$3,387,713.37|
|HA $ Approved||$1,215,826.81|
|ONA $ Approved||$2,171,886.56|
|IHP $ Disbursed||$3,455,431.99|
|HA $ Disbursed||$1,226,127.43|
|ONA $ Disbursed||$2,229,304.56|
|Inspectors in the field||4|
|HA Max Award||4|
|HA Max $ Award Approved||$151,600|
|ONA Max Award||0|
|ONA Max $ Award Approved||$0|
|Alaska IA Hotline|
|Total Hotline Calls||333|
|Total Registration Intake||135|
*HA is Housing assistance– Getting survivors into secure and safe housing, rental assistance, lodging expenses reimbursements, home repairs, to repair uninsured home damage. Home replacement, financial assistance for homeowners who must replace or rebuild primary residence.
*ONA is other needs assistance, financial assistance to repair or replace common household items but not limited to furnishings, appliances, essential tools that supports necessary assistive devices or technology. May provide financial assistance for services to remove contaminants and disinfect surface areas of the home affected by floodwaters. ONA may also provide for replacement of Subsistence items essential to survival for many families. Boats, motors, ATV, Freezers. TO QUALIFY for ONA survivors must register with FEMA. To receive ONA survivors do not need to show damage or loss of housing
Officials with FEMA are also in the process of doing home inspections and helping residents register for assistance across the region. They were in Hooper Bay and Chevak over the weekend and currently have officials in Golovin.
Those seeking disaster funds as a result of ex-typhoon Merbok, should apply for BOTH the State of Alaska assistance and FEMA assistance. The deadline to apply for federal assistance with FEMA is Nov. 22, while the State of Alaska deadline is Nov. 17.
As of today, the Anchorage-based FEMA hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, which can be reached by calling 1(866)342-1699.
According to the agency, storm survivors without a physical street address may have challenges applying via the FEMA online application. These survivors are advised to apply by calling FEMA’s Alaska disaster assistance hotline listed above.
Image at top: A subsistence camp in the Nome area after the historic September storm hit Western Alaska. Photo from Bridie Trainor of Nome, used with permission (2022).