ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A Newtok official says the federal funds allocated to the village to help homeowners whose land has become threatened by erosion are life-changing.

Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Tuesday that George Carl, the village’s council vice president, said the funding “is like saving our people in that small village.”

Newtok is rapidly losing land to a combination of erosion and thawing permafrost. Residents expect they’ll have to abandon their homes within a matter of years.

The village first decided to move in 1994 and acquired a new site several miles away in a land trade with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2003. The village has been piecing together funds for the move ever since.

The cost of moving the entire village is estimated at well over $100 million.

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