This photo provided by the Alaska National Guard shows an Alaska Army National Guard helicopter conducting search and rescue in Haines, Alaska, after a major landslide Dec. 3, 2020. The Government of Yukon has provided $25,000 to the Salvation Army in support of Haines. (Alaska Army National Guard)

This photo provided by the Alaska National Guard shows an Alaska Army National Guard helicopter conducting search and rescue in Haines, Alaska, after a major landslide Dec. 3, 2020. The Government of Yukon has provided $25,000 to the Salvation Army in support of Haines. (Alaska Army National Guard)

Yukon government offers financial assistance to recovery efforts in Haines

“Our shared interests make us friends.”

The government of Yukon has provided $25,000 to the Salvation Army in support of Haines, Alaska.

“Our shared geography with Alaska makes us neighbours, but our shared interests make us friends. Yukoners were shocked and saddened at the tragic news of the loss of life, flooding and ensuing disaster,” said Premier Sandy Silver, in a statement.

“The ongoing efforts of the Salvation Army and emergency crews in responding to the disaster and bringing aid to those affected are greatly appreciated during this challenging time,” he said.

The financial aid will contribute to the December 2020 South East Alaska Winter Storm Response to help families who are in need of emergency support. Following the disaster, the premier spoke with Mayor Douglas Olerud on December 5, 2020, to offer emergency response resources and support to U.S. Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The Yukon government said it immediately worked to clear the Alaska Highway and facilitate the physical movement of support from the United States.

The territory has a mutual aid agreement with Alaska and support is coordinated through the State Emergency Operations Centre. He said the Yukon escorted U.S. Army Reserve trucks to Haines when the highway was officially closed due to icy conditions.

Governor Mike Dunleavy declared a State Disaster on Dec. 5.

On Dec. 8 the government confirmed that Olerud had indicated they had enough volunteers and no additional support was needed.

More than four dozen families were forced to evacuate the community after a severe storm that led to landslides, flooded buildings and roads, downed trees and caused power outages. The largest landslide, about 183 metres wide, took out four homes in the community.

David Simmons, 30, and Jenae Larson, 23, have been missing since the slide. The search was suspended Dec. 7 amid continued rain and the likelihood of additional slides. Some areas of the town remain closed due to risk of further damage.

Dunleavy activated the state’s “individual assistance” program on Dec. 30, which is designed “to help individuals and families with damages and/or expenses related to the disaster event.”

Aside from Yukon government support, individuals in the Yukon have also contributed funds to friends and colleagues in the nearby town. The Tourism Industry Association of Yukon donated $1,000 to relief efforts.

Yukoners who wish to assist can make individual contributions to the Salvation Army Alaska Division, who are leading the recovering effort.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

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