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Chevak leaders declared a state of emergency after storm damaged large portion of community's subsistence equipment

Chevak’s radio tower lies on the ground after being toppled during a massive Western Alaska storm on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2022, with local winds reaching at least 70 mph.
Courtesy Aden Atcherian
An image of Chevak on Oct. 22, 2018, before the storm.

The Chevak Native Village and the City of Chevak declared a state of emergency during a joint meeting on Sept. 20.

The emergency declaration comes after the remnants of Typhoon Merbok destroyed dozens of boats local residents use for fishing and hunting. Many people in the coastal Cup’ik community also report losing fishing nets, dry houses, fish racks, and other essential subsistence equipment. The fate of dozens of fishing and hunting camps used in summer and fall months is unknown.

Residents in the village of nearly 1,000 people are advised to boil their drinking water, now four days after flood waters from the storm inundated the community’s drinking water system

The city and tribal council plan to use the community’s VHF radio system to broadcast more information about the emergency declaration and how residents can seek assistance in creating an inventory of their losses.

Volunteer crews still have weeks of work ahead to pull swamped boats from the river and start repairs on damaged homes. Two houses in the community lost at least a portion of their roofs. Others have exterior damage.

Emily Schwing is a long-time Alaska-based reporter.
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