GNWT urging evacuated residents to register with leadership

Left to right: Sonya Saunders, MACA's assistant deputy minister of regional operations; Premier Caroline Cochrane; Shane Thompson, minister of Municipal of Community Affairs; and Laura Gareau, MACA's deputy minister. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB)

With hundreds of people displaced from their homes due to flooding in Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation (KFN), the territorial government is urging residents to register with their community leadership.

“It’s important that displaced community members register, so that officials can keep track of where people are and what their needs are,” said Laura Gareau, deputy minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

She added that evacuees are mainly spread among three communities right now: Enterprise, Fort Providence and Yellowknife. Fort Smith is also ready to receive up to 50 people if need be.

As of 2 p.m. this afternoon, Gareau said 93 people have registered at Yellowknife’s Multiplex, with 53 people staying there. That also includes 35 people that left Enterprise to come to Yellowknife by bus. The Multiplex has capacity for about 600 people after Behchokǫ̀ donated 85 cots, and Joint Task Force North donated an additional 350. Gareau said emergency management organizations (EMO) would coordinate to send people with special medical needs to hotels.

In Fort Providence, she said 62 evacuees, mostly from KFN, were staying at the Snowshoe Inn.

“We are uncertain of the number of evacuation enterprise but we are aware that the community is accommodating people who have decided to stay there once arriving,” said Gareau. She added that campgrounds in the region are also opening up to accommodate residents.

The registered evacuees are very low compared to the number of displaced residents.

“A current issue for the EMOs is that we are uncertain on how many evacuees to actually expect in Yellowknife,” said Gareau. “It’s known that many residents of Hay River and the K’atl’odeeche First Nation have gone to other communities and staying with family or friends.”

“At this point, EMOs do not have the capacity to physically find people,” said Gareau. “Until they register with us and tell us what their needs are, we will wait for them to do so.”

Local leadership has also called on residents to register. They can do so by visiting the Hay River community centre, or calling 1-833-699-0188, or using the online form.

“The town of Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation, their plan and the work that the their EMO staff, and leadership has done has been bar none,” said MACA Minister Shane Thompson. “If you look at where everybody is right now, we are safe. And that is our priority is to make sure everybody is safe.”

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com