With the Napakiak post office shut down, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is delivering prescription medications to the village through commercial air traffic.
YKHC spokesperson Mitchell Forbes says that the organization caught wind of the closure on February 12. Since then, YKHC has been flying out the medications as freight on passenger planes to Napakiak. Forbes says that the deliveries have been happening as often as the medications need to go out, with the volume varying day-to-day.
Napakiak residents can pick up their prescriptions at the village clinic. Residents traveling to Bethel also have the option of picking up their prescriptions at the YKHC pharmacy there.
“This is not the first time we’ve had a village lose its post office,” Forbes said.
The Hooper Bay and Mekoryuk post offices also went through closures in recent years, and YKHC flew prescriptions out as freight during the shutdowns.
The Napakiak post office closed more than two weeks ago when the postmaster went on maternity leave, and the U.S. Postal Service has been unable to fly an interim worker in. Village residents say that they’ve been unable to access checks mailed to them or to pay bills through the mail without a post office.