Biden waives Alaska’s costs for initial Merbok disaster relief

damaged boats in chevak
Boats and other gear used in subsistence fishing and hunting lie damaged or destroyed along Chevak’s coastline after the village was hit by remnants of Typhoon Merbok. (Emily Schwing/Special to Alaska Public Media)

President Biden has made more disaster aid available to Alaska in response to Western Alaska storm damage this month.

Biden revised the federal disaster declaration for Alaska on Thursday, increasing the federal payment to 100 percent of the total eligible costs for the first 30 days.

The decision means that the state won’t have to pay any costs associated with initial assistance to residents and communities who suffered losses from the remnants of Typhoon Merbok.

The total cost of the disaster hasn’t been tallied yet. The widespread damage includes flooded streets in downtown Nome, lost subsistence food and fishing boats in Chevak and the destruction of Shaktoolik’s berm against the sea.

Biden’s action comes two days after Alaska’s congressional delegation and governor requested the change. On Thursday they issued a joint statement thanking Biden for his swift action.

Alaska Public Media reporter Liz Ruskin contributed information to this story.

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Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him more about Chrishere.

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