Disaster declared for Tuluksak

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy authorized a disaster declaration for the Tuluksak water system fire that occurred on Jan. 16, 2021, when someone in the village apparently torched the laundromat, where the water system was located that serves the 320 people in the community.

The Disaster Declaration activates the State of Alaska Public Assistance program which is designed to help communities, government organizations, and certain non-profits make repairs to utilities, public buildings, and other critical infrastructure damaged by the declared event. In addition, the public assistance disaster declaration will reimburse communities and agencies for eligible response costs associated with the disaster event.

The authorization of the disaster declaration follows weeks of discussion by a multiagency group including the State of Alaska, the Tuluksak Native Community, federal and local partners to ensure the village had no shortage of drinking water following the destruction of the water treatment plant and washeteria.

The declaration provides short term and immediate measures establishing temporary watering facilities and other processes to provide the community with potable water.

“Since the loss of the Tuluksak water system, my administration has worked with local partners, including the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and many others, to ensure the people of Tuluksak have constant access to drinking water and that the ice road is maintained,” Dunleavy said.

“The health and safety of Alaskans is a priority. We will continue to provide support to the people of Tuluksak,” said Major General Torrence Saxe, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Currently, residents of Tuluksak have access to bottled water, which was donated to the community and is available for purchase in the community store. Air service is operational, and the ice road to Bethel and other communities provides access to potable water.

“I would like to thank all of the agencies and individuals who donated water to the community of Tuluksak,” said Dunleavy. “It never ceases to amaze me the generosity that Alaskans show when their neighbors are in need. Often, these individuals are the unsung heroes of the disaster response and recovery effort.”

A multi-agency group continues to meet and develop short and long-term solutions to the community’s water issues, such as providing a supply of filtered, but non-drinkable water, to support a temporary bathing and laundry facility; moving and setting up a mobile water treatment system from Bethel to Tuluksak to establish a temporary watering point; or to purchase a prefabricated treatment building and ship it to the community. 

11 COMMENTS

  1. I hope that there is an investigation into the fire. I guess village life isn’t what it used to be, everyone respect the limited services we had.

  2. Unfortunately this situation may illustrate the fundamental dilemma Alaska has, one of them. I would bet that Tuluksak homeowners and businesses pay no property tax. They may pay nothing for water and sewer. Quite possibly law enforcement and education are completely paid by the state, but the state has been spending one-time savings to keep everything going. It’s not a Native v. non-Native situation; more Natives live in Anchorage than in villages, and it’s the same for Juneau (for example). And at least in southeast there are communities with no particular Native history or culture that choose to not pay property taxes such as Gustavus and Tenakee. Some southeast villages once had property taxes and chose to do away with them (why not?). I don’t have the answers, but I do know that none of the solutions to this dilemma promoted by liberals will work unless human nature changes dramatically. Right now a huge swath of Alaska adults are living off transfer payments for food, rent, etc. And people are prevented by the Canucks from pulling up stakes and towing a H-Haul trailer down to where there are jobs (other than government jobs, which Alaska has insulated from the pandemic and recession). Houses that are selling are selling at high prices. I don’t know how this story ends but so far people sitting in remote villages have no reason to do anything for themselves, and that is now spreading to the cities rather than the other way round.

  3. This is what happens when The State of Alaska has a shoddy public education delivery and parents dont keep books around nor they read variety of stories to their growing children. They grow up and be dumb.

    Alaskan parents don’t even know how to read books let alone tell the difference between quality written books to simple textbooks. Hahaha

    You want me to shut up about calling us fellow Alaskans dumb, real illiterate losers! Then force the public educators ( because parents show they surely cant read and aren’t reading to their poor children) quality paper books to their classroom teaching and motivating the classroom of kids the value behind storybook characters. When I see something being done, I will shut up about calling Alaskans dumb.

  4. The sad facts is this community has a LONG history of not caring for Infrastucture as provided by the state. Of court if it’s the bad actions of individuals, not much one can do except prosecute those responsible as needed – including negligence if appropriate.

  5. Is there a link to the source of the information that the fire was set by someone in the village? Thank you for your web site

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