The Situation in Nunam Iqua


ak4Larger map.
(Courtesy USGS Yukon River Water Quality
fact sheet.)

May 11, 2009

Yesterday I was talking to some elders who think that some of the very old houses along the river might flood, but only two of them are occupied.  The elders aren’t too concerned about this year’s flooding – even with the flooding upriver. Their ice is a lot thicker than we have here.

Segundo, his dad and brother have been going down daily to check nets or make holes for ice fishing and the ice is hardly 3 feet thick right now which is about normal for break up.

Nunam is kind of an island so even though we flood, the ice usually goes on either side of us.  Unless both sides happen to jam at the exact same time we don’t do to bad.

We do have an evacuation plan.  The new school is very high and, if necessary, they would evacuate us.  They did this back in the 70’s by helicopter.  I am told that the women and children were evacuated but most of the men stayed behind.

We will be on 24 hour flood watch just like we are every year.  Last year we took turns staying up all night watching the water levels.  We have the boats out and when the time comes if the water starts to rise they will be moved to the houses.  It has been over 30 years since it has ever flooded here badly enough to need evacuation.

We had over 2 feet of water come through the village last year and were fine, very interesting riding a 4 wheeler through that much water.  Please keep in mind that we do flood every year and we are careful and will be prepared.

We will keep you updated, but remember, we are still probably at least a week, if not two away from break up here.


10 Responses to “The Situation in Nunam Iqua”

  1. Phil Munger Says:


    Do you know if rural advisor John Moller has been visiting communities along the Yukon or Kuskokwim this past week, as the flooding moves down the rivers?

  2. Sue Says:

    I’ll keep you in my prayers. : )

  3. Gramiam Says:

    Thanks for the update. Please know that we hold all of you in our hearts and prayers for your safety and well-being.

  4. alaskapi Says:

    Your info is part of what is missing in the tale of yearly floods at break-up along the rivers.
    Information is spotty and folks are hyper-ventilating because the flooding was SSSOOOO bad at Eagle. The understanding of what is going on, where, is part of drawing it all together- it is also part of the story of rural Alaska which urban Alaska has only the dimmest awareness of.
    PART of the misunderstandings folks have about each other instate have to do with NOT knowing about yearly flooding, normal preparations, evacuation plans being part of the everyday spring to-do list and so on…
    yukonbushgrma sounds ticked at the state currently- hard to tell without more info whether she is mostly stressed out (OMG- who wouldn’t be??!!) and/or whether there is some big dropping-the-ball thingy going on out there..She and her family and neighbors are in all our thoughts.

    Maps, flood weather info, stories of prep, tales of what can happen , how the state and citizens react , safely managed evacuations ( yup, on the manly testosterone-stay-behind-thing:-) ) ,successes and failures in communications and so on are the WHOLE story…

    It is YOUR story I was glad to see today. Hugs all around the Strongheart home.

    Aa’nana Pi

  5. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Phil –

    Rob Rosenfeld has more information in the previous thread. He could probably find out what villages Jon Moller has or hasn’t visited.


  6. annstrongheart Says:


    I haven’t heard anything about or from Mr. Moller. I have no idea if he is out visiting villages or not.

  7. TiredMom Says:

    Ann, glad you and yours are okay.

  8. TiredMom Says:

    Ann, when you get a moment, please email me.
    sstanley(at)lightsource-va(dot)com I had a computer meltdown and have lost the Manumik’s address and your email address.

  9. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Whew – figured your village was in better shape to handle floods due to being at the mouth of the river and the sea. I didn’t realize though, that water flows around you on both sides to find the ocean, so that’s a relief. At the “end of the line” you get more notice on what’s going on upriver, so more time to prepare. I am keeping fingers crossed that Yukon breakup is fairly uneventful! You and your family are always in my thoughts, take care!

  10. annstrongheart Says:

    Technically only one side goes out to the ocean according to hubby the other side goes back a mile or so into lots of creeks. We’ll just have to hurry up and wait to see what happens.

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