Flooding damages Eagle

October 12

Reporters throughout Alaska are rounding up in-depth accounts of the outpouring of assistance to Eagle residents impacted by the spring Yukon floods.  These will be posted as they come in.  Please click on the link to read each entry.

   Click here to read the full story of Fort Greely Garrison assistance to Eagle residents.

Photo by Kent Cummins/Members of the Tanana Chiefs Conference load Fort Greely-donated furniture bound for flooded Alaska villages.  Fort Greely furniture and appliances were sent to Eagle, Stevens Village, Circle, Fort Yukon and Tanana.

September 30,

“There are seven new homes in the new Eagle Village, two more on the new Village Road, four rebuilt at ground zero, and two near the boat landing in town.  Fifteen homes rebuilt!  They are so beautiful!

We have been moving into our home this week and I have to say it is like a dream!  We are so humbled to have been given this amazing gift.  It truly is a house built by God!  THANK YOU!!!!”

~an Eagle Resident whose home was rebuilt following the devastating Yukon River floods


September 23,

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers hosted a dedication dinner for Eagle residents whose homes they and others rebuilt following the flood.  Many people used this time to express their appreciation for all the many volunteers from Samaritan’s Purse, Mennonite Disaster Services, and Disciples of Christ disaster response. Samaritan’s Purse volunteers gave quilts, Bibles, and Samaritan’s Purse shirts to homeowners as housewarming gifts.

The work of Eagle Resident, Andy Bassich, in establishing and leading the Eagle Rebuilding Construction Team (ERCT) was also acknowledged at this time.  This locally driven team was key to the disaster recovery effort.  One team member notes, “The beautiful thing about this project is that it really flowed very well.  The City of Eagle and Eagle Village worked together in the beginning to put together an infrastructure to support disaster recovery.  This made it easier to maintain communication and provide the support services necessary to make the hundreds of volunteers feel like part of this community.  They were all so appreciated.”


The last volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS) left Eagle mid-month.  They are a wonderful group of skilled people.  The homes they built are sturdy, beautiful and fit each homeowner perfectly.  Before leaving MDS volunteers gave each homeowner a lovely quilted wall hanging, a tradition started in 2002, and the book The Hammer Rings Hope.  In all, 70 to 80 highly skilled MDS volunteers worked in Eagle over the summer and into the early fall helping to rebuild.

September 12,

Robert Paire and the 9 other volunteers from LightShine Ministries loaded into a borrowed van and headed south on the Taylor Highway for the first leg of their long trip home to Pennsylvania.  The 9-man team was ending two weeks of volunteer work in Eagle.  

Mr. Paire arrived in Eagle on June 8th and then served as the volunteer coordinator for the Eagle Rebuilding Construction Team (ERCT).

And how many volunteers were there?  By Mr. Paire’s official count, 233 ‘spontaneous’ volunteers arrived in Eagle from July 4 to September 11.  This was in addition to the 70 to 80 Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers, Samaritan’s Purse volunteers, and the volunteers from Dawson City that came in the first weeks following the flood.  Thank you to an amazing number of volunteers! You were all so appreciated.

September 11,

A tearful celebration, closed with prayer, marked the dedication of the new home for Eagle resident Mary Rose David.  Eagle residents, volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Services and Samaritan’s Purse, and folks from FEMA and the State of Alaska were all in attendance at this special house warming and dedication for Mary Rose David, a cancer survivor whose home had been destroyed in the flood.

September 10,

So much has happened since the last update.

We have said heartfelt goodbyes to many of our volunteers but in turn received others with open arms over the past few weeks. We are so thankful to all the many folks who have put their own lives on hold to come to assist our community. We are truly blessed by their presence.  This has been a great experience for all of us, the residents of Eagle and the volunteers. It has been wonderful to get to know all of these people and grow to love them. There is more to this project than rebuilding homes. It’s also touching lives!

On September 2nd we received a 40-foot trailer filled with donated furniture from Fort Greely. It was very exciting for residents who had lost everything to the Yukon flood to come and pick up their new items – dining tables, chairs, couches, dressers, nightstands and beds. We witnessed many smiles, thanks and even a few tears. We would like to thank Fort Greely, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Interior Regional Housing Authority, Brice Inc., and the Northern Alaska Disaster Recovery Services for making the donations possible!!

Earlier we received various winter parka donations from the Raven’s Nook mini-department store in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada!  Thank you Raven’s Nook. We will remember you at 50 below! Thank you Yukon Queen II for bringing these donations downriver.

On September 10th Carlisle Transportation Systems arrived in Eagle with a 40-foot trailer filled with materials donated by The Home Depot store! The windows, doors, paint, and many other items will be put to good use.

September 4,

Voluneers and homeowners who have been working dilligently since early summer are looking forward to a ribbon cutting ceremony on twelve new houses sometime in the next two weeks. Attention is now turning to sheds, out buildings, and other smaller projects, as well as finish, and interior work on the new homes. Cash is needed to finish paying for equipment time used to install septic systems and outhouses.  (Please click Donations & PayPal for ways to contribute)

August 24,

Temperatures in Eagle can drop to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Average January temperatures are minus 22 to minus 2 degrees F. Proper winter outerwear is crucial.  Much of the focus of summer in a community like Eagle is on preparing for winter. With many in the community recovering from the disaster of the spring Yukon flood, this fall is especially tense. Initial interviews with homeowners over the weekend by the Eagle Rebuild Constructing Team indicates that for residents who lost most or all of their personal belongings to the flood, replacing winter outerwear is a critical need.  To assist Eagle residents in meeting this need without delay please consider giving to the Warm Hearts Fund (see link).  By contributing to this fund you will allow Eagle residents to purchase the type of winter outwear that they know works in this extreme climate.  

To learn more about winter outerwear in an extreme climate you may want to see the Outdoor Survival series from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Sea Grant Program


August 18,

Public Meeting Held In Eagle, Alaska

What can be covered in a meeting that runs from 7:10 pm to 8:15 pm?  Plenty if you are in Eagle, Alaska.  

A short list of items covered/actions taken includes debris removal, landfill, burn unit, firewood, gravel charges, new electrical power poles, fridges and stoves, material donations, wood stove installation, holes for outhouses, septic tanks, furniture donations, water and sewer, fuel tank stands, State quilt, FEMA visits, potluck dinner, and donated funds to date.  Whew!  All this and a good deal of the meeting was turned over to thanking those helping Eagle with the tremendous effort of rebuilding their community.  

As one community member noted,

 “I have never been to a community meeting that was so positive.  It reminds me of what the community used to be.  It was nice.”        

More Excerpts from August 18, 2009 Public Meeting for Individual Assistance: 

v “How is everyone feeling?   We started building houses less than a month ago and we are close to putting on the roofs of the last couple of houses.  Thanks to Mennonite Disaster Service and Samaritan Purse! [Two-thirds] 2/3 of the cost to rebuild a home is labor.  Take your $30,300 and X [multiply] it - you are getting an amazing amount of help. This project would not happen with out the volunteers. (Andy Bassich-Eagle Rebuild and Constructing Team)

v “To all the people, I stand up to you.” (Eagle Village member- stands takes his hat off).

v “Many volunteers have stressed the pleasure of being here and they talk good of you folks and you have shown an amazing amount of appreciation.” (Mennonite Disaster Services Volunteer)

v “You have opened up your community, they appreciate the meals and they appreciate getting to know you guys.  They are here ultimately because God cares about Eagle and the town and you.  That is why we are here.  We thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve.” (Samaritan’s Purse Volunteer)

v “They are very talented people.  They are very proud.  They adapted quick and that is accredited to their skill and knowledge.  They are making everything work.  Everything works different in different places and they are learning how we do things here.” (Andy Bassich-Eagle Rebuild and Constructing Team)

v “Pleasure to work here in Eagle and it is an honor.”  (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

v “Many thanks have been given to this cooperation effort between the City of Eagle and Village of Eagle, FEMA, Homeland Security, State of Alaska, AK VOAD, MDS, Samaritan’s Purse, and the many volunteers who have traveled on their own here.  This has been an amazing effort of cooperation it makes me very proud of my community. One more round of APPLAUSE please!”  (City of Eagle representative)


August 18,

Good News.  Mennonite Disaster Services and Samaritan’s Purse volunteers are making significant progress towards the completion of the 13 new homes to replace those completely destroyed by the flood. (See Pictures)

Even More Good News - You Have Responded.  The response from volunteers has been tremendous. There have been 40 to 60 volunteers working in Eagle in any given week. Their stays range from a few days to more than a week. They hale from as far away as Iowa, Texas, Pennsylvania, or as near as Alaska.

While Mennonite Disaster Services and Samaritan’s Purse volunteers have focused on building the 13 new homes to replace those completed destroyed by the flood, other volunteers have taken on the monumental task of debris removal/salvage operations and making critical repairs to the many homes damaged by the flood. Where to start? The priority is to repair homes of families with small children and then the homes of elderly Eagle residents. Given this order, the repairs on two of three flood damaged homes of elderly Eagle residents is nearing completion. Work on these repairs was started in June.

Some Tips for Those Headed to Eagle. There is still a serious amount of work to do as fall settles in and winter approaches. Volunteers skilled in all construction trades are urgently needed. Email is the best way to coordinate your arrival and stay. Mr. Robert Paire, Volunteer Coordinator, is the person to contact. The phone line is touch-and-go at this point since it is lying on the ground and exposed to moisture. He asks that you email him at Robert.paire@gmail.com  Lodging is still at a premium. Volunteers are staying in tents. Five tents are set up for those flying in from distant states. Those driving up are asked to bring their own tents/campers. Tools, especially power tools, are still at a premium. It is extremely helpful if volunteers bring their own tools. 

August 14,

Yet another crew of Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers arrived at the landing strip in Eagle to replace hardworking men and women now making their way back home.  A total of 11 houses are now in various stages of construction. Some of the hardest tasks are now being approached.  Residents are returning to what is referred to as ‘ground zero’.  They are going there, sometimes accompanied by strong hands and someone willing to listen and bear with them as they take on the difficult task of looking into the ruin that lies beneath the collapsed metal roofs, to expose what is left of a lifetime of memories. These residents cannot replace much of what was lost.  Please consider helping them to restore what strong, skilled hands can restore.  Come to Eagle and help them rebuild.  The Eagle Rebuilding and Constructing Team is in urgent need of skilled volunteers.  Please contact Mr. Robert Paire, Volunteer Coordinator, at robert.paire@gmail.com  [excerpted in part from daily report prepared by Mennonite Disaster Services volunteer leadership]

Public Service Announcement From Eagle, Alaska 

August 11, 2009 

Since the May 3rd Yukon River flood, Eagle, Alaska has been buzzing with the sounds of clean up and rebuilding.  It is a mad rush to complete many homes for the disaster victims before the closing of the Taylor Hwy on October 16th.

The Eagle Rebuilding Construction Team (ERCT) had been hard at work coordinating this project.  

The community has also had the great gift of many volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Services, Samaritans Purse, and other various groups and individuals.

The need for more volunteers – especially skilled laborers is crucial.  If you have any time to volunteer to this project please contact Rob Paire at robert.paire@gmail.com

Cash donations are also critical.  There are several ways that cash donations can be made. Please check out the Donations & PayPal page for information on making a contribution.

If you have any other questions, or for updates please visit the webpage often or call (907) 547- 4002.

Thank you for your attention to this serious request!

Reminders:  The deadline to register for FEMA assistance is Monday August 10, 2009, 7 pm local time.  FEMA representatives in Eagle are available to assist with this.  The registration for FEMA assistance can also be done by calling 1-800-621-3362 or online at www.disasterassistance.gov

Small Business Administration (SBA) low interest loans are available to homeowners, renters and businesses. That would include the owners of rental properties who want to rebuild. The SBA deadline is also August 10. The contact number for SBA is: 1-800-488-5323.

August 8, 

Eagle Needs Donations of Building Materials to Help The Community Help Themselves-Please Consider Giving.

The leaves are turning on the trees and the temperatures are already dipping near freezing. The building and demolition/salvage work continues at a rapid pace.  Residents are not going to get caught admiring the handiwork.  There is still much work to do.  They are a community and there are still families without homes for the winter. 

Some residents who lost homes to the flood do not qualify for the FEMA Housing Assistance Program.  They are trying to build out-of-pocket. Others are hard-pressed to balance the need to replace their homes, essential personal belongings, and tools against their own limited resources and assistance provided by state and Federal programs.  The ERCT Team wants to help these folks out by securing donations of building materials. Please keep an eye on the Various Needs Lists if you are interested in being a part of this project.  You can also contact Mr. Robert Paire, Volunteer Coordinator, 907.547-4002   robert.paire@gmail.com to let Eagle know of your interest.  

August 6, 

Our house is going up at an alarming rate.  We are so excited.  It is so beautiful.  We cannot give enough thanks to the folks of MDS, Samaritans’ Purse, and Eagle Rebuilding Construction Team along with all the other volunteers who have come in to rebuild our home and community. We would also like to thank those who have donated to this amazing project by sending supplies or cash donations. You are all beautiful people!          

                                                                                                                                                           An Eagle Resident

August 4, Please see updates to Various Needs Lists. There is a critical need for volunteers skilled in all phases of building construction and demolition/salvage. There is a need to repair 5 oil-fired boilers in Eagle Village (more information will be provided as it is obtained).

August 3, Good news. Additional generators to power saws, sanders, planers, and log wizards for volunteer crews building houses to replace those destroyed by the ice jam flooding have been secured. Much thanks to the generous donors!

August 1, The community people have treated us just wonderfully. We are learning about new things and new ways of life and appreciating them for who they are. They have been bringing food to the crews when they are out on the project. They brought in new potatoes and moose and new potatoes and ham. One gal brought salmon made in three different ways. We’ve even had some food appear mysteriously in our kitchen. Jam and fry bread, what a surprise! We appreciate it.

Through new friends here we met a woman whose rented home next to the Yukon River in the old village had been destroyed in the ice jam. She had not yet gone back to the house. The prospect of returning to the house was very difficult and overwhelming. A volunteer offered to go with her to help her sort through her things. She was not prepared to return at this point.

An hour later this same volunteer ran into this same woman at the post office. She said, “I’m ready to go at 5:00 p.m. tonight.”

A troop of volunteer men came after work. They made their way to the one-room cabin, closed in by a jumble of uprooted brush and broken trees. As they unloaded from the vehicles and made their way down the zigzag trail of broken limbs to get to the cabin, the woman looked out her broken window. Her emotions ran high and she said, “It’s God’s army coming to help me.” Her very first help after the ice jams.

Later the volunteers paused on the banks of the Yukon River. It was a wonderful place to stop and see God's beautiful nature. Everyone has worked hard and come in tired, but they feel really good about the work that has been done.  [excerpted in part from daily report prepared by Mennonite Disaster Services volunteer leadership]

July 30,

Near record high temperatures (high 80’s) and long workdays are testing the limits of crews and equipment. Crews are managing with higher levels of safety awareness and plenty of water. Equipment is a different matter.  The heat and continuous use is taking a toll on the generators used to power sanders and saws.  Progress on the log cabins may be slowed down if two additional generators are not secured.  

Samaritans Purse volunteers worked next to Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers to make quick work of the second two-story cabin.  In another area a crew of Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers and Eagle residents are preparing logs.  Running log wizards, sanding and planning are hot, dusty and labor intensive work.  More Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers are finishing the gable ends on three houses. With one person expediting supplies to sites and quick on-site planning the workflow is steady and progressing at a rapid pace. 


Volunteers still find time to enjoy the Alaskan summer.  Workers are accompanying Eagle residents on runs to check fish wheels and feed sled dog teams in the early morning hours.  The community treated those who could attend to dinner, and a special music program. [excerpted in part from daily report prepared by Mennonite Disaster Services volunteer leadership]


July 29, The new Mennonite Disaster Service crew hit the ground running early this week.  By Tuesday the log walls for the home started just last week were complete and the beginnings of another two-story log home appeared.  The crew continued preparing logs delivered last week.  All are looking forward to the delivery of metal roofing material.  We can report the first crew made it safely to their flight out of Eagle while proving you can never have enough tires or good Samaritan’s in Alaska.  Some good Samaritan’s along the Taylor highway helped them replace two flat tires on their bus with a spare and one from the dual set on the other side of the bus.  [excerpted in part from daily report prepared by Mennonite Disaster Services volunteer leadership]



July 28, Exciting rebuilding in Eagle! The community is literally buzzing with production in every corner.  It is beautiful to see a master plan such as this come together as envisioned by the Eagle Rebuilding Construction Team (Andy Bassich).  The rebuilding efforts in Eagle began in Eagle village with the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), Samaritan’s Purse and the Eagle Rebuilding Construction Team (ERCT).  Currently, an astounding 10 homes are underway within the community and more to follow.  The volunteers and ERCT are the major driving force for the push to completion.  It is literally a race against the long, cold closely approaching winter.   It is just amazing to see this in person; the rate of noticeable progression is uplifting to say the least. 

FEMA is assisting the Native Village of Eagle in putting in place the temporary site of the Public Safety Office including a jail on Aug. 15th.  The Village is also anticipating the arrival of the temporary Health Clinic site on the 24th.  This will include 2 Health Aide stations, exam rooms, Pharmacy, Lab, and supplies and also including the Behavioral Health office.

The seemingly never-ending cleanup effort is happening all around as well.  The local businesses and residents are trying to salvage any reusable material.  The City of Eagle, The Native Village of Eagle, Rockwell Construction, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are deliberating on a strategy for this huge project.   Rockwell Construction has come to town to start to open the one time use landfill for some of the debris; some will be hauled out.  This will entail chainsaw crews and individuals walking as a pick-up crew and heavy equipment operators recovering the land for a clean slate.  The clean up process is no easy task due to the wide spread trail of debris for miles.

Most are trying to move on in their regular life and get back to normalcy; in their gardens for example, but the press of time is certainly a hot topic.  There is much to do in order for the affected ones to prepare for winter.

Although the spirits of the community are uplifting gradually the overwhelming feeling of loss and disorientation are still present.  Everyone has been affected.  The face of Eagle has changed; whether some may view it as good and others as bad or just different, it is a change indeed.

July 27, The dust hasn’t settled in Eagle--sawdust, that is.  As we pause to provide an update we bid farewell to eleven Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteer builders and welcome 14 fresh recruits. Lessons learned by the first crew will be passed on by three MDS volunteers that will be staying on, and by residents of Eagle who have been working side-by-side with the MDS volunteers. In two weeks time the exterior walls are nearing

completion on three homes, and roof trusses are beginning to take shape on one. The start of a fourth home and delivery of the logs for two additional homes coincided with the arrival of the new crew.  We are well on our way towards meeting the goal of building thirteen log homes in Eagle by September 12. [excerpted in part from daily report prepared by Mennonite Disaster Services volunteer leadership]

July 6, Folks took a much needed break from the cleanup effort, and enjoyed a festive time relaxing and visiting with friends and family over the holiday. Also we want to send out a big Thank You! to the many volunteers and who have given so generously of their time and talents over the past two months. Rebuilding  would not be possible with out your help.
July 2, Internet Service at Eagle Community school has been down since yesterday, and this is having a dramatic negative effect on communications. Our service provider does not expect the problem to be resolved until Monday due to the 4th of July Holiday.
July 1,  Eagle residents are expecting a stream of volunteers to begin arriving next week, kicking rebuild efforts into high gear. Samaritan's Purse and Mennonite Disaster Services are teaming up to bring 15 volunteers per week into Eagle. Volunteers will be organized by three volunteer construction coordinators who will remain in Eagle all summer to provide continuity for the work teams.
June 26, Its been weeks since the ice flood. Old Eagle Village was finally cleared of ice by D.O.T. and residents were able to see the total destruction. The entire village was pushed farther down river and back into the brush. Fallen trees are a jumbled mess and in some areas the ice is still twelve or more feet high. So far fifteen crushed autos have been found as well as damaged/destroyed boats, fish racks and smoke houses.
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