Governor Dunleavy Prepares Request for Federal Disaster Declaration – Mike Dunleavy

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Governor Mike Dunleavy will seek a federal disaster declaration for the September 2022 storm that is currently affecting the west coast of Alaska. Damage assessment is underway with state, local governments, regional entities, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“I will submit a request for federal assistance as soon as we gather the necessary information,” Governor Dunleavy said. “If approved, at least 75% of eligible disaster costs would be covered by FEMA, with the state paying the remainder.”

Governor Dunleavy issued a state disaster declaration for the storm immediately upon receiving the request from Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Bryan Fisher at 9 a.m. Saturday, September 17. A disaster declaration is not required for state agencies to take preliminary action and to effect immediate response to threats to life, safety and property damage. DMVA, DOT&PF, DPS, and DEC all started ramping up as soon as the weather service started issuing warnings. A federal disaster declaration means federal funding and support for response and recovery will be available now that the storm has passed and damage can be assessed.

The process for applying for a federal disaster declaration is outlined below:

  1. An initial damage assessment is in progress in order to declare an amount that would be included in the claim.
  2. The Governor is asking for federal help.
  3. A joint preliminary damage assessment is conducted by FEMA, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), and local partners and tribes to determine casualties and recovery needs.
  4. The President approves the request for Federal Disaster Funding or FEMA notifies the Governor that it has been denied. This decision process can take a few hours or several weeks.

FEMA disaster assistance falls into three general categories: 1. Individual Assistance — assistance to individuals and households; 2. Public assistance — assistance to public entities (and some private non-profit entities) for certain emergency services and the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged by the disaster; 3. Risk Mitigation Assistance — financing measures designed to reduce future losses to public and private assets.

“We are currently focusing on the most severely affected communities,” Governor Dunleavy said. “Fortunately, there are still no reported injuries or fatalities at this time. If the Federal Disaster Declaration is approved, we will be able to meet the costs of the disaster and help communities cope. to physical harm. I look forward to working with our federal delegation to help Alaska recover and move forward.

We will provide a copy of Governor Dunleavy’s letter to President Biden as soon as the preliminary damages are documented and the letter is complete. Additionally, here is a timeline of events regarding the storm that started last week:

  • On Tuesday, September 13, the National Weather Service reported that Alaska could see impacts from Typhoon Merbok this weekend.
  • Early Wednesday morning, September 14, as confidence grew in the storm’s forecast path and potential impacts, the State Emergency Operations Center began initial coordination with state agencies, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and FEMA.
  • The state EOC staffed on Thursday morning September 15th. We began reaching out to communities from the Aleutians and Pribilofs to the Arctic West Coast to ensure preparedness measures were taken in anticipation of high winds and storm surges. In addition, SEOC organized conference calls for communities in the Pribilof Islands. Simultaneously, DMVA Commissioner Saxony coordinated with the Governor and his team to inform about the preparatory measures taken by all agencies.
  • Through Friday, September 16, DMVA remained in contact with the Governor to update him on the updated impact forecast. All communities were taking steps to retreat in anticipation of the historic storm surge and high winds. SEOC hosted conference calls for the YK Delta, Norton Sound.
  • Based on preliminary reports early Saturday morning Sept. 17, Governor Dunleavy declared a state disaster emergency for storm-affected communities on the advice of Superintendent Bryan Fisher. SEOC has organized conference calls for the Seward Peninsula.
  • On Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18, Governor Dunleavy and cabinet members joined in a press conference to detail the state’s response to the storm. The calls included regional tribal partners.
  • On Monday, September 19, Governor Dunleavy, members of DHS&EM and DMVA flew to storm-affected communities to assess the damage.
  • On Monday, September 19, Dunleavy Administration Chief of Staff Tyson Gallagher spoke with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and Region 10 Director Willie Nunn. Administrator Criswell is heading to Alaska soon.
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