The Federal Emergency Management Agency [on July 1, 2009] has approved the State of Alaska’s total request for additional communities to receive disaster relief funds for the spring flooding event (FEMA, 2009, Â¶1).
The original federal disaster declaration did not include Individual Assistance for several communities as the flood event was ongoing at the time of the federal disaster declaration. Federal Individual Assistance pays a maximum of $30,300 per affected household, whereas State of Alaska Individual Assistance pays $5,000 per affected household (FEMA, 2009, Â¶2).
“This is great news for the members of the communities in rural Alaska that were left off of the original disaster declaration,” Governor Palin said. “This year’s spring flood was one of the worst on record, and we need to act swiftly to make sure people can rebuild before winter”(FEMA, 2009, Â¶3).
Disaster recovery teams, consisting of members of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and FEMA, are out in Bethel and the surrounding villages today. More trips are planned next week to help those people who have experienced flood damages get the necessary paperwork completed to expedite funding assistance(FEMA, 2009, Â¶4).
The formal regions, and key communities, added onto the federal disaster declaration are: (FEMA, 2009, Â¶5)
- Lower Yukon Regional Education Attendance Area (REAA) for Individual Assistance, including Emmonak, Russian Mission, Kotlik, and Alakanuk;
- Yupiit REAA for Individual Assistance (already approved for public assistance), including Akiak, Akiachak, and Tuluksak;
- Lower Yukon REAA for Public Assistance, including Emmonak, Russian Mission, Kotlik, and Alakanuk;
- Yukon-Koyukuk REAA for Public Assistance (already approved for Individual Assistance), including Tanana.
The ice jam flooding that affected Alaska’s Interior region was largely unreported in the news, but it obviously was a major disaster rising to the level of requiring FEMA funding. Prior coverage of this subject goes back to early May 2009.
Governor Palin took a meticulous, disciplined approach in handing the situation. She personally toured the affected communities, gathering data and working with her response teams to prepare appropriate funding and to ensure that said funding is properly allocated. The latter is a critical point, because these events more often than not invite profligate spending and the money spent almost never goes where it needs to go.
Some leaders tend to knee-jerk and panic in the face of crisis; they do something — anything, but their efforts are often un-focused, insufficient, or or incorrect to addressing the problem at hand. Others freeze like deer in headlights and do nothing — classic “paralysis by analysis.”
Governor Palin used her 17 years of executive experience to approach the disaster on a step-by-step basis. She worked to ensure that all resources were properly allocated. Her presence in the affected communities comforted the residents in knowing that via her command, needed relief would be provided.
She is someone to look to for leadership and inspiration, irrespective of her political positions and anyone’s opinions on them.
FEMA approves additional community help for flood victims. (2009, July 1). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved July 2, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1943