Alaska Prepares for More Spring Breakup Flooding

Flooding in Alaska
Red Cross is working closely with State partners and tribal governments to ensure the safety of those who may be affected.

Red Cross is actively helping Galena flood victims. More than 200 villagers have been evacuated, with many more staying at two local community shelters set up at Galena schools.

Melting ice on the river dammed the Yukon at hairpin turns, with river water having nowhere to go but up to the village. Floodwaters have affected the entire town, with the exception of the airstrip built in 1939 that is protected by levees. The area has experienced flooding before, but floodwaters have never threatened to breach the levees until today.

Red Cross Disaster staff and volunteers are working closely with the State of Alaska, tribal agencies like the TCC (Tanana Chiefs Conference, the consortium of 42 Interior Alaska villages), other organizations and community leaders to meet the needs of flood victims.

Monday

• Two community shelters stood up in Galena to shelter evacuees

• All Galena residents with medical issues or who quickly left their flooding homes without their medications were evacuated by the TCC to Fairbanks' Willow House.

• 80 Galena evacuees flew to Fairbanks for shelter or to stay with relatives and friends

• 32 Galena evacuees flew to Anchorage for shelter or to stay with relatives and friends

Tuesday, 2pm

• 30+ Galena evacuees are headed to Fairbanks for assistance

• Many more Galena evacuees were transported to Ruby and Tanana for shelter

• The electricity is out in Galena and shelters are also without power. Telecommunications between Galena and outside help have been spotty. Many residents have subsistence lifestyles with freezers full of game and fish that may be spoiling. SAT phones are en route to help, as well as generators.

• Red Cross is sourcing and delivering food for those sheltering in Galena, Ruby, and Tanana

• The ice jam has broken free from the hairpin river turn near Galena, and is headed downriver. High waters persist in Galena but are expected to subside.

Preparing Downriver Communities

With warm sunny temperatures melting snow, river ice continuing to melt, and jams floating downriver, many communities are at high risk for flooding. We first anticipate flooding in the Koyukuk and Nulato communities which are about 4 hours downriver from Galena.

Red Cross staff and volunteers are reaching out to communities under flood threats all along the Yukon, reviewing their preparedness plans and preparing for evacuations and emergency sheltering.

Preparing for Kuskokwim River Flooding, Continuing to Help Circle and Eagle

The Kuskokwim River is also being closely monitored, but has yet to have significant breakup. The Red Cross continues to assist upriver Yukon flood victims in Circle, Eagle, Fort Yukon, Beaver, and Steven's Village.

This is an ongoing flood disaster response expected to affect hundreds of Alaskans, many with unique subsistence lifestyle needs.

You can help our neighbors in need.

Please make a donation to Disaster Relief for Alaska Spring Flood victims at www.redcross.org/Alaska.