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Newtok and Napakiak damage assessments are top priority for LKSD

The William Miller Memorial School in Napakiak, Alaska on Sept. 18, 2022.
Bethany Hale
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The William Miller Memorial School in Napakiak, Alaska on Sept. 18, 2022.

Both Newtok and Napakiak were schools that had erosion problems before the storm. Newtok is in the process of moving to Metarvik, a new settlement on higher ground. Many families have yet to move to the new village and are using the old school. Napakiak is building a new school due to the threat of rapid erosion.

Kimberly Hankins, superintendent of the Lower Kuskokwim School District, says there are unconfirmed reports that the Newtok school may be 30 feet closer to the shore after remnants of a Typhoon Merbok sent floodwaters into the community. Prior to the storm, it was about 70 feet away from the shore.

Hankins says the degree of erosion is cause for alarm and hopes to get accurate measurements on Monday.

Hankins says Napakiak on the Kuskokwim River saw flood waters that were four to five feet high. The water did not get into the school but flooded teacher housing. She is awaiting reports on how much this latest storm affected the shoreline.

Oscarville and Napaskiak also saw heavy flooding, but water did not get into the schools. Hankins says teams will be out on Monday to assess damage to the district’s out buildings and equipment.

Six schools in the district opened to provide shelter during the storm.

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