Last year, the town of Galena on the Yukon River experienced one of the worst flooding disasters seen in this state. More than a year later, the town is still recovering, but making progress.

In that year, Galena has transformed into a very different place. The roads are busy with trucks filled with building materials, and the sounds of construction are everywhere.

Four homes are being rebuilt, and all paid for by FEMA, a rare occurrence, and something it says has only happened two other times in its history. The state of Alaska is also pitching in for new foundations and elevating homes.

“Our main goal was to prevent the flight of the population,” said State Coordinating Officer Bryan Fisher. “So all the work we have to do in the community to repair roads, to rebuild homes, to reopen the schools: critical for the livelihood of Galena and our other communities that were impacted for the long haul.”

One area of town hit the hardest is the old part of town, but six families haven’t written off their homes. Instead, they’re rebuilding. For them, federal aid isn’t available without costly flood insurance.

The Louden Tribal Council says about half of the households in the old part of town have filled out applications to have their properties purchased from them. If sold, their properties would be cleared and possibly used as an open community area. The council says that project is in its early stages.

The building materials will keep arriving and so will the volunteers who support the people who lost so much, but want to keep calling Galena home.