Alaska Delegation Applauds Announcement of 100% Federal Cost Share for Western Alaska Disaster
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-Alaska), Representative Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska), and Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) today welcomed an announcement that President Biden has approved the State of Alaska’s request to waive the state’s cost share for individual and public assistance for recovery efforts from the impacts of Typhoon Merbok in Western Alaska. President Biden’s order today increases the federal share for emergency assistance to 100 percent of the total eligible costs for the first 30 days following the incident, up from the original 75 percent federal cost share approved on September 23. The President approved a similar arrangement for the recovery from Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico.
“I thank the President for listening to us and approving our request for a 100% waiver of the State’s cost share for federal assistance associated with recovery efforts from the Western Alaska disaster,” Senator Murkowski said. “Today’s announcement is the result of the Alaska Delegation’s dogged efforts to make the case to the administration, as well as our colleagues—working to educate them on the needs of Western Alaska—and it paid off,” said Senator Murkowski. “The storm damage from Typhoon Merbok is severe and the recovery needs are extensive. I saw destruction in every impacted community I visited—damage to infrastructure like roads in Elim, homes floated off of their foundations in Golovin, extensive flood damage, subsistence camps literally wiped out, taking boats, nets, and four-wheelers. This waiver will go a long way in the regions’ road to recovery, and with freeze-up just weeks away, approval of this waiver couldn’t have come soon enough.”
“I’m glad to see that the federal government has honored our request to waive the state’s cost share for the relief to Western Alaskans just as was done recently for Puerto Rico,” Senator Sullivan said. “I’ve been working this issue non-stop, speaking directly several times in the past few days with the Secretary of Homeland Security and senior White House officials, and I had an amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) ready to go in the event those discussions with the Biden administration were not successful. The delegation also wrote a letter to the FEMA Administrator and I spoke on the Senate floor about this. I want to thank the federal officials who listened and ensured a prompt cost share waiver. Thank you also to all of the Alaskans who have come together and remained resilient and tough throughout this disaster. Help is on the way. Now is the time to start applying for aid that can assist with everything from emergency shelter to food and other needs. The delegation will continue to stay focused on the important rebuilding process.”
“I want to thank President Biden for listening to the Alaska delegation’s concerns and approving a 100% federal cost share for our state,” said Representative Peltola. “This additional federal funding will lift a huge burden off Alaskans who are working so hard to rebuild after the devastation brought by Typhoon Merbok. These next few weeks are critical for making necessary repairs before the winter months and I’m grateful that President Biden has answered our call for help.”
“We know the next few weeks will be critical for the communities impacted by the storm. From the beginning, we’ve done everything to support recovery in Western Alaska, including asking for additional support from the federal government,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Rural Alaska is tough, but this storm damaged critical infrastructure and personal property – a cost too great to handle alone, which is why we asked for additional federal help. Thank you to Biden Administration for waiving 100 percent of the State’s cost share for additional disaster assistance. Alaska’s Congressional Delegation and I know the waiver will go a long way in helping repair the damage to these communities. Let’s get our Alaskan families back on their feet.”
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On September 16, remnants of Typhoon Merbok produced widespread damage to communities in Western Alaska—flooding of homes and businesses; damage to infrastructure for power and water, as well as roads and bridges; and impacts to approximately 1,000 miles of coastline.
On September 20, Governor Dunleavy requested a federal disaster declaration which was immediately followed by a letter from the Alaska congressional delegation urging President Biden to expeditiously approve his request. On September 23, the President issued a major disaster declaration to support Western Alaska’s recovery.
In Governor Dunleavy’s Major Disaster request, he requested a federal waiver for the State of Alaska’s cost share for individual and public assistance recovery efforts in western Alaska, which was followed by a letter from the Alaska congressional delegation urging FEMA to approve Governor Dunleavy’s request.