Murkowski Seeks FEMA Assurances On Alaska’s Protection Levels

“Our Rural Villages Worry They’re At the Bottom of the Priority List”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today pushed Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate for an assurance that Alaska is protected equally to the communities in the Lower 48. “Communities like Crooked Creek and Red Devil do not get news coverage like Joplin, Missouri or the Mississippi River communities affected by natural disasters,” said Murkowski. “But I’m asking for an assurance on their behalf, because they worry our disaster response request is at the bottom of the priority list.”

Administrator Fugate’s response? “We don’t go where the cameras go. We go where the Governor’s ask us to go.”

On June 1st, Governor Sean Parnell asked FEMA to formally declare areas of Interior Alaska as a disaster area due to floods – an effort supported by Senators Murkowski and Begich in a letter to FEMA yesterday encouraging the disaster designation.

Later in the hearing, Senator Murkowski followed up with Fugate, on the topic of high-profile American communities being aided by regional partners.  “Alaska doesn’t have regional partners. Our geography puts us away from other states, oftentimes 48 hours away from help or aid.  Is FEMA working with Alaska, given our remote location?”

Administrator Fugate pointed out that not only would the Department of Defense need to contribute more resources to Alaska than in other states, but that FEMA is investigating the role that Alaska’s international neighbors could play in dire circumstances.

Senator Murkowski’s office will be meeting with the FEMA Northwest Director for more detailed answers to Alaska’s concerns in the future.

For video of Sen. Murkowski’s exchange with Administrator Fugate, click here.

Attached is the letter from Sens. Murkowski and Begich to FEMA.