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Coffee@KYUK, May 12: Nunapitchuk Flood Worst In Years

Courtesy of Jacob Tobeluk

While many communities along the Kuskokwim River escaped major flooding, one small village is still seeing high water. One Nunapitchuk resident, Moses Tobeluk, spoke on KYUK's morning show about the flooding. 

Nunapitchuk Mayor Noah Wise said that the water started rising in the middle of last week and never stopped.

"This flood we’ve experienced, the worst that we've had in, I don’t know, since the past 10 years or so. Really. It’s really bad this year," Wise said.

As of noon on May 11, the water had not started receding. Water rose high enough to flood the insulation underneath two houses. Wise said that those houses had already experienced damage from flooding during unprecedented winter storms in February 2019.

Nunapitchuk sits on both sides of the Johnson River, a tributary of the Kuskokwim River. Big and small lakes also surround the village, and several houses just sit a few hundred yards from the river banks. All the melting ice and snow from the lakes and rivers headed into Nunapitchuk, flooding steam houses, fish racks, and even some boat docks. Two boat docks detached and floated away, and the boardwalk is under water in several places, pieces of it floating in the floodwater.
Wise said that the city plans to declare a state of emergency to access state and federal funds to repair the damage.