Tragedy In Haines: Landslide Sweeps Away Four Houses, Destroys Roads & Infrastructure. Two Alaskans Are Still Missing

  Life In Haines Was Turned Upside Down On Wednesday Afternoon, December 2nd, 2020  Photo: Alaska Public Media by 1st Lt. David Marshall/ Al...

  Life In Haines Was Turned Upside Down On Wednesday Afternoon, December 2nd, 2020 

Photo: Alaska Public Media by 1st Lt. David Marshall/
Alaska Army National Guard

Devastating Landslide 

Update Monday, December 7th: 
The Alaska State Troopers suspended the search for David Simmons and Janae Larson. It was still raining hard and the search area was unstable. Reports say that many Haines residents are either displaced or under orders to be ready to evacuate if conditions get worse.

Update Sunday, December 6th:
The National Weather Service says: Record 36 to 48 hour rainfall amounts of 7 to 10 inches have been reported around Haines from last Monday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. An additional 1 to 2 inches of rainfall is expected through Tuesday. A flash flood watch is effect through Tuesday. 

The Haines Borough Website says that: 
DOT is working hard to open roads.
Assessments for unstable conditions in the Beach Road SAR area and across the borough of Haines are ongoing.

The Salvation Army and Red Cross are coordinating support for displaced residents.
Donations are being accepted directly to the Haines Salvation Army, PO Box 550, Haines, AK 99827. 

The GoFundMe Site, Haines Alaska Disaster Relief, has been transferred to the Salvation Army and ALL proceeds will be used for the benefit of victims of this Haines Borough disaster.

Outside volunteers, if you are not part of the organized response to the emergency in Haines, it is critical that you do not attempt to come to Haines at this time. Haines has sufficient volunteers for the immediate needs. Please standby.

What Happened
Heavy rains on frozen ground triggered a series of slides, including a huge slide that swept away four houses on Haines' Beach Road. In one of the homes were two Haines residents, a teacher, Jenae Larson, and David Simmons, the director of the Haines Economic Development Corporation. Both were apparently working at home because of COVID precautions.

The aftermath of the numerous slides, the danger of more happening, and the loss of two of Haines'  young people has brought life in the town to an abrupt new focus on helping neighbors, search and rescue and digging out and stabilizing the situation.

Governor Dunleavy, the Coast Guard and the Alaska National Guard, as well as dozens of search and rescue volunteers, have rushed to help.

Alaska Is Smaller Than You Think

This tragedy reached across Alaska to Gakona and Bearfoot Travel Magazine which, until very recently, had been working with David Simmons, who had helped us complete the paperwork for the Alaska CARES Act.

He was considerate, kind and went out his way to help us. In his conversations and emails his enthusiasm and interest in making a difference came through. It was both refreshing and reassuring to have come across an Alaskan interested in helping others. In an age where too few of us seem to have time to help one another he provided a taste of "old-time" Alaskan generosity.


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