By now, many Vandalia area residents have seen the devastation caused by a 30-mile ice jam on the Yukon River in Galena, Alaska on the national morning television shows last week.
The National Guard worked hard to evacuate the 500 people who live in the town after flooding washed out roads and submerged buildings.
The ice jam took place in spite of 80 degree temperatures.
While most area residents may feel sympathy for those affected, Farber’s Gladys Demoski Ball has been glued to the coverage.
Her sister Freda and Freda’s husband live in the town and their house is underwater.
When they were evacuated to Fairbanks, Alaska, they were unable to grab anything from their home except for the clothes they were wearing.
Her sister Freda’s granddaughter, who lives with the couple, ended up getting separated during the evacuation. The rescue efforts called for children and seniors to be rescued first by air before the remaining citizens were picked up.
Her Facebook status read “Nothing. No home. Everything gone. My home is completely under water. This is the most tragic day. I’m traumatized. I’m separated from my family. I don’t think I’m going to sleep tonight.”
Her cousin, who passed away in early April this year, had a cabin there that was seen floating down the river.
Residents are unable to return to their home due to safety concerns outlined by the Louden Tribal Council and the National Guard. Those include sewage spills, hazardous materials, fuel clean-up, lack of a dump, loose power lines, falling trees, and heavy equipment traffic.
Freda’s husband is returning when he can to assist with the electric company. Gladys’ siblings are completing HAZ-MAT training and have plans to make their journey on the same lake which they live to assist in the clean-up efforts.
Later in the week the jam finally broke and water is currently flowing out of Galena. Unfortunately, the permanent damage to the town has already rocked the community and left it in ruins.
Some footage can be viewed from a Good Morning America segment at http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/giant-ice-jam-threatens-galena-alaska-30-mile-19286133.
The two villages downstream of Galena, Koyukuk and Nulato, escaped flooding.
To help with the clean-up efforts, donate cash to the “TCC 2013 Galena Flooding Donation” account with Wells Fargo, account No. 3881160125.
For more information call 1-800-478-6682.