Dozens of Manley Hot Springs residents remain displaced after flood

High waters surround buildings
Manley Hot Springs on Saturday, May 7, 2022. (Alaska State Troopers)

Some Manley Hot Springs residents are pissed off by a scarcity of steering and help as they start recovering from final weekend’s main ice jam flood.

“You know, people have come out and did a lot of talking, but everything is so slow moving,” stated resident Kobi Purdy. “And it doesn’t feel like anything has been done yet, and everybody has all these contaminants in their yard and in their house.”

Purdy, her husband and their three youngsters are amongst about 50 individuals displaced by flood harm to their houses in Manley Hot Springs. The ice jam on the Tanana River occurred final Saturday and precipitated main flooding within the small neighborhood west of Fairbanks.

Purdy stated there’s uncertainty about how one can proceed with clear up and repairs. She listed gas oil, gasoline, antifreeze and sewage amongst contaminants within the flood waters.

“We’re scared to go over and try to touch anything, because we don’t know what’s on that ground or what is on everything,” she stated. “I mean, we’ve found dead fish in the middle of the road.”

Purdy, who’s educated in oil spill response, says there’s no plan to this point for coping with fuel-tainted flood waters.

“They wanted us to just go and pump out our basements. That’s what they wanted us to do, and like, I’m not pumping that out into the environment,” she stated.

Manley Hot Springs through the flood. (Courtesy of Kobi Purdy)

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation employees had been anticipated to reach in Manley Hot Springs this week, and the Alaska National Guard can be deploying to the neighborhood. 

The preliminary focus has been on ensuring persons are secure and on restoring important companies, stated State Department of Emergency Management spokesperson Jeremy Zidek. The subsequent main job is harm evaluation, he stated.

“The damage assessments will be conducted first and foremost by leadership in the community, working in conjunction with an emergency manager that’s been dispatched from the state emergency operations center, in conjunction with the Tanana Chiefs Conference and others, like the American Red Cross,” he stated.     

Gov. Mike Dunleavy declared a catastrophe for the Manly Hot Springs space over the weekend, and Zidek stated assessments are a prerequisite for leveraging catastrophe help applications. 

“Once we get an assessment of what the damages are there in Manley, we’ll know which programs we can activate and then the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will begin to implement those,” he stated.  

Zidek emphasised that homeowners of flood-damaged houses and companies don’t have to attend to start clean-up and repairs, however ought to meticulously doc flood harm and all the things they do to deal with it.

“Take pictures, take video of the damage, make lists,” he stated. “If you make any repairs, and have any expenses, keep receipts for those expenses.”    

Zidek stated the potential for federal help will hinge on the general severity of Alaska’s break up flood season.

“There will come a time when we’ll be able to evaluate the damage that has taken place statewide from these floods and see if we have enough damages to request a federal or presidential disaster declaration, and that will activate FEMA on the disaster recovery side,” he stated.

The state can be monitoring and responding to flooding in different areas around the Interior, together with at Circle on the Yukon River and at McGrath, Sleetmute and Red Devil on the Kuskokwim.

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