JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Governor Mike Dunleavy has issued a state disaster declaration for the landslide that occurred in Wrangell on Nov. 20. The declaration will support ongoing emergency response, mass care, and disaster recovery efforts.
A multi-agency effort is supporting the City and Borough of Wrangell, including the Department of Public Safety (DPS), Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), U.S. Coast Guard, City and Borough of Juneau, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
DPS is working closely with local first responders and the USCG to safely search the area as quickly as possible. DNR is sending a geologist to evaluate the slide area. The DOT&PF personnel, equipment, including a drone, is supporting search and rescue efforts. The State Emergency Operation Center has raised its activation level to Level 2 and sent an emergency management specialist to Wrangell.
“Rose and I are heartbroken by this disaster, and we pray for the safety of all those on site. We are offering Wrangell all the resources our state has available,” said Governor Dunleavy.
The landslide made the Zimovia Hwy impassable and cut off access and power to approximately 75 homes. Boats have been transporting residents from the cut-off area to the unaffected part of town.
Accommodations will be available for residents who are cut off from the rest of the community and cannot stay with friends or relatives. The Salvation Army Alaska Division supported the communities shelter operations. The American Red Cross of Alaska and the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters have been activated.
The disaster declaration has activated the state’s Individual and Public Assistance programs. The State Individual Assistance program helps individuals and families with damage to their homes and property and provides temporary housing for those who cannot return to their homes. The public assistance programs fund emergency response efforts and repair of critical infrastructure damaged by the disaster event. The Governor’s declaration can also waive permitting requirements that could impede response or emergency protective work.