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BIA Announces Emergency Funding for Emmonak, Alaska

News comes during trip to Bethel with Senator Mark Begich

Traveling to Bethel with U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today, Bureau of Indian Affair's (BIA) regional director for Alaska, Niles Cesar, announced the BIA will provide emergency financial assistance to help residents in Emmonak struggling with the price of fuel.

Senator Mark Begich

At a video conference arranged with several villages through the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, Cesar told participants that the BIA has agreed to waive eligibility rules so more people in Emmonak can receive assistance of up to $1,000.

"I am extremely pleased that the BIA has answered Senator Lisa Murkowski and my request for assistance to help these residents get through the winter," Sen. Begich said. 'This is not a long-term solution, but it's a step in the right direction. I am hopeful the State of Alaska will step in and help solve this for the future."

Sen. Begich arranged the meeting in Bethel today and asked BIA officials to go with him. Cesar said the assistance may range from $400 to $1,000 depending on a person's income. He didn't know how many people would eventually receive the extra help, but said the average person will receive around $500.

Cesar also said his office is requesting the wavier be made available to 56 villages in Western Alaska and to 11 villages in the Northwest Arctic. Sen. Begich endorsed the request to expand the waiver to help more villages.

From a Senator Mark Begich press release

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