Murkowski declares disaster in Kaktovik

In the news

Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2005

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Gov. Frank Murkowski issued a disaster declaration Saturday for the city of Kaktovik and the North Slope Borough in response to a severe winter storm that knocked out power to most of the community.

The disaster declaration makes the Beaufort Sea community eligible for additional state assistance.

''The citizens of Kaktovik through this ordeal have been patient, courageous good neighbors,'' Murkowski said. ''We are all relieved that the immediate crisis has been resolved with no serious injuries. But now we must get the community back up and running again as soon as possible.''

A severe winter storm with low temperatures and near hurricane-force winds knocked down several power lines and caused the shutdown of Kaktovik's main power grid and generators Jan. 9.

The storm plunged temperatures to 20 degrees below zero with wind chill of minus 60 in the community of about 300.

Many took shelter at the school, and when power failed there, at a municipal transportation building.

The lack of power meant water and sewage pipes froze, damaging homes and the community's school.

The North Slope Borough requested state assistance. Alaska Air National Guard aircraft finally reached Kaktovik with electric linemen and equipment Jan. 11.

Additional aircraft Wed-nesday brought in generators, fuel, emergency food and water rations, and more technicians.

Power has been restored to 90 percent of the community.

Damage to infrastructure and individual homes still is being evaluated.

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