Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The village of Emmonak in Crisis

Last summer I wrote a blog post about what I believe is the uncertain future of rural Alaska. It seems that what I fear is becoming a reality in Emmonak, as it is, I'm sure, in many other isolated Alaskan villages. Emmonak is the first to be raising a cry for help.

Emmonak man seeks food airlift to combat economic crisis


January 12, 2009 at 1:42PM AKST

A combination of extreme cold and high fuel prices has created a humanitarian crisis for the village of Emmonak, according to resident Nicholas Tucker.

In a letter sent out as a cry for help, Tucker describes economic conditions in which families are rationing food and warmth for themselves and their children in the Southwest Alaska village of 800.

The situation could easily worsen — extreme cold that arrived early this winter and stuck around means heating fuel must soon be flown in, which residents fear will push the price from $7.83 per gallon to $9 a gallon or more.
Click here to read the article.

Alaskan bloggers have been trying to raise awareness of the situations are are calling into question the lack of response, or even acknowledgment of the situation by state officials. Here are a few posts from other AK bloggers...

The Mud Flats (I suggest reading the comments on this blog)
Alaska Real
Progressive Alaska
Kodiak Konfidential

A grassroots effort has been started to raise awareness of the situation and to help the village. If anyone is interested in helping they can call:

City of Emmonak, (907) 949-1227/1249 (They will take donations by credit card. Please specify the donation is for heating oil!)

Emmonak Tribal Council, (907) 949-1720

or send a check to:

Emmonak Tribal Council
P.O. Box 126
Emmonak, AK 99581
Attn: Christine Alexie



Anonymous said...

I found this really hard to read. It's not about a third world country - its the United States of America, and people are hungry, and cold, and can't afford to live. I know it is not ONLY in Alaska. I'm sure there are people in my own county, town? who may be suffering similarly. But mostly it bothers me because I wonder in how many OTHER native villages is the exact same thing going on. Emmonak is in crisis. How many more villages are going through the same motions, but it hasn't reached the news yet? You were right in your predictions not that long ago. I specifically remember that post. People should not have to choose between eating or staying warm. This is hard to read because it breaks my heart. Other than sending a little bit of money to one little village, there isn't a lot I can do to make a big difference in these people's lives. That is the real heart breaker. Knowing there is need and not being able to fix it.

Brandon Kerr said...

Or, how about moving to civilization. I, too, would love to live in the middle of nowhere, but I would never make it another's burden to do so. If you can't afford to live in one place, then you move to a place that suits your financial needs. If you need a hand-up (not a hand-out), then the taxpayers should only foot the bill for your move to cheaper living...not subsidize your vacation in the Alaskan wilderness.