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Half of flood victims apply for state aid

Posted: December 17, 2013 - 9:29pm

With less than a month to go, nearly half of the expected Kenai Peninsula Borough applicants for state disaster aid have applied for up to $16,200 in grant money to help them recover from the Kenai flooding earlier this fall.

According to an information release from the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 52 State Individual Assistance and Temporary Housing Assistance applications for the Oct. 27 and 28 flood were compete as of Monday.

After the flooding, the borough received 120 reports of flood damage to private property. The state expected up to 1,000 applications for assistance when they launched their response.

Emergency management officials opened a Disaster Assistance Center in Soldotna for much of last week to directly help people with applications and send verification teams out damaged homes quickly for processing. With that option to apply for aid now ended, the state has moved the process to a toll free number or online application.

People who need to apply online can begin the process at Ready.Alaska.gov/IA. Phone applications will be taken at 855-445-7131.

Applications will be taken through Jan. 17, a date which can be extended, according to state officials.

Through a different process, the state offered public assistance for damage to public infrastructure such as roads and bridges, which the borough pegged at $500,000 as of November but expected the costs to grow during the spring thaw.

In general, the state has said that eligible damages, from the complex flooding that inundated 6,000 acres of the Kalifornsky Beach area for months, include those resulting from high surface water following the rainstorm on Oct. 27 and 28.

The borough estimated private property damage to be near $2.1 million.

Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management spokesperson Jeremy Zidek last week said that everyone who thinks they are eligible should apply and let the verifiers figure the rest out.

More damage from the water is expected as the area thaws out next spring and Zidek noted that if a new declaration were made those who applied now for current damage would be better off.

Reach Greg Skinner at greg.skinner@peninsulaclarion.com.

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