Emergency declared in Taholah, voluntary evacuation issued
The Quinault Indian Nation has declared an emergency for coastal flooding in Taholah.
Tribal President Fawn Sharp declared a state of emergency Tuesday night due to a breach in the seawall. High waves and intense winds and destruction of a smokehouse, other outbuildings and properties in the lower village.
Sharp issued a voluntary evacuation order for the area and filed a request with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that the portion of Taholah in danger be declared a federal disaster area to receive disaster support.
Sharp issued an executive order stating that “the dangerous condition continues and that the Taholah seawall is no longer capable of stopping the ocean from advancing into our lower village of Taholah.”
The executive order stated, “Lives as well as property are in imminent danger. A state of emergency exists in the tribal village of Taholah, on the Quinault Reservation.”
President Sharp met with congressional officials, including Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Dave Reichert as well as officials from the Army Corps earlier this month. “All of these officials were very supportive of our long term plans related to protection of our people from these ongoing dangerous conditions and the funding that will be required to achieve that protection on a permanent basis.”
In January the Corps of Engineers placed 800 tons of rock along the seawall. “It is obvious that Quinault’s coastal defenses desperately require a more permanent fix,” said Sharp.
“We have been experiencing an increasingly dangerous situation with sea level rise and intensified storms. Our people must be protected. We will take whatever measures are necessary to see that they are,” said Sharp.