Rural Update – News from the Flood Zone
The unprecedented flooding on the Yukon River has wiped out riverside homes and buildings, devastating the village of Eagle with enormous chunks of ice and raging floodwaters. Residents were able to escape but had to leave their homes and most of their possessions behind. Mudflatter Yukonbushgrandma who is a frequent commenter here on The Mudflats was right in the thick of things in the flood zone. This is her story. I will post updates as they become available.
Right now, she and her husband are staying with friends on higher ground, and they are safe. Our thoughts go out to them and all those who have been so devastated by this event.
My hubby and I lived right down by the Yukon, but we were set back a ways, and we always felt pretty safe during breakup.
This year was SURREAL.
We are still in shock. And every now and then I enter a state of numbness and inability to deal with the reality of what we face.
We were the lead story one night on KTUU. Those brave ladies (reporter & videographer) wanted to see, and record, what our house looked like after the onslaught. I hadn’t seen it yet myself. They walked down the steep bank of moss, roots and stumps, and eventually we got down to the house. It was totally enveloped in massive ice chunks, preventing entry to the house anywhere. The only way to enter was to break a window and enter by ladder, being very careful not to get cut by broken window shards.
We have entered that window many times since then, trying to retrieve anything that might be salvageable. Every time we go there, I cry. We can get things, but they are so messed up, covered with diesel and silt, that we wonder if it’s truly worth rescuing them.
On the night of breakup, I hurt my right leg. After the first surge of the river, we waited. Hubby was sitting by the window, watching the water level. All of a sudden he said, “we gotta go, NOW!” I turned off the lights, put on my rubber boots, and went out the door. In that short time, the water had risen so much that I waded through eight inches of water to get to high ground. Our 4-wheeler was in the way of the water, so the both of us pushed it up the steep bank, through snow and ice. The 4-wheeler ran over me a couple of times, and that escapade really messed up my right leg.
Today hubby went down there and somehow – miraculously – found one of our freezers buried under the massive ice blocks. It was totally filled with stuff we had just purchased a week before, and it would have been a great loss. The door was on the bottom, so he had to saw the freezer apart to save the contents. We were lucky — about a third of it was still salvageable.
I wish I could say that the state people are helping us ….. but I think it would be far better if we could take their wages and redirect them to moving the massive chunks of ice that are preventing us from doing anything here. Someone said that they’re worried about the diesel contamination going into the Yukon, so they don’t want to push the ice into the river. That ice and water are going to go there anyway!!! Can’t they just help us here, give us a way to get to what’s left of our homes and get the little what’s left out of them?
[More to follow]