Climate Change Threatens Alaska Census Count


Now News. to Alaska where some communities are on the front lines of the impact of climate change warming temperatures and thawing. Permafrost are forcing some Alaskan native villagers to look for firmer ground on which to live. And that's also making it harder to get an accurate population. Count for the twenty twenty cents in parts of the state. NPR's Hansi Lawan has been traveling to some of these remote areas for this report once a decade the US government's largest peacetime mobilization officially begins with a trek to the most northern state in the Union Census Bureau officials crossed the Tundra of Southwest Alaska by Bush plane last month to reach the fishing shing village of took Sook Bae Ba. I community in the country to be counted for the twenty twenty cents. Is You land on a strip of Ice Jessica Amazon she coordinates the bureau outreach to tribal governments in Alaska the airport terminal is essentially. It's not even building. It just hasn't mention their blocks the wind. And then you go go up to the actual village typically by snow machine after each villages counted census workers often hop back attack on a snow machine. Or if you're in the lower forty eight a snowmobile or sometimes into a dog sleigh to journey across miles of frozen ground and ice roads to reach the next village village temperatures in Alaska though have been heating up twice as fast as the global average making counting in some parts of the state more complicated we seen gene landmasses just disappear overnight and we're talking a big chunk Alan up twenty feet or so Romi caddy anti is a relocation coordinator for village northeast of took bay called new talk. Many residents. There have been forced out by erosion and rising waters that seep through floorboards and lead to black mold and homes. There are leaning telephone poles all over the village structures are beginning to fall from their foundation. Dacian the two thousand ten census counted just over three hundred fifty people. Living in new talk and the community has used that number to get its share of an estimated more than one and and a half trillion dollars a year in federal funding guided by Census Data Ba last fall a third of new talks residents relocated into new homes in mocked Avik. It's replacement village. That's on higher ground and this year. The Census Bureau is planning to count the community as to villages would separate population counts. So I asked Romi Taty Day. Hey what does that mean for. How much funding the community receives over the next decade? That's a very good question and a very scary question. There's gotta be a way Eh. For communities that spurious these kinds of threats to have additional funding in the transitionary period recent global warming and how slowed affect in coastal areas rivers and. It's not just one village in all the villages back in took set bank tribal administrative Robert. Pit Gus says. Climate change brings a particular challenge to Alaska native villages that rely on funding tied to their census numbers. What are you worried about about over the next ten years? I'm just worried that there may be lack of funding to fix all kinds of erosion occurring in many villages indescribable for Diana Turkic. It was partly forseeable. Turkic is the operations manager for the took base of regional clinic. And she's worried about the ice road. Other villages rely on to get to took suck base health clinic and research winters. It's sometimes been too warm to drive over a nearby river it hasn't frozen Over and it's made it more typical to get seen over here so they rely on. Claims Moore Turkic says the rising temperatures reminder of what you elders have long predicted and she wonders census workers who often have to use ice roads to get around may encounter a vastly different Alaska by the next count in twenty thirty. The way things are going. Maybe they won't maybe they will not have winter. That's like so many years from now and I just don't know Romi Cayenne Tei says in new talk. Many residents are not waiting to see what else climate change brings. There are so many people that are scared about the weather so a lot of people have been seeking shelter with their relatives all over the region. So you're GonNa see that census number drop a little bit ten years from now though. County wants to see new talks community reunited on solid ground in their new village of mocked Avik population. Three hundred fifty by the twenty thirty cents is he hopes or maybe even higher

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