Jean-Marie River residents reckon with impact of flooding

Flooding in Jean-Marie River. (Supplied by Tyrone Sanguez.)
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Residents of Jean-Marie River have returned home after flooding hit the community, filling a number of homes with water.

Tyrone Sanguez, a Jean-Marie River resident, posted a video on Facebook of cars filing out of town, with water that had risen up to the edge of the road. Sanguez has since returned to his house, with much of the floor covered in water and possessions on the floor soaked with water.

“I actually just got back into my hometown, we are all spending time out on the land and others in different communities because there is still no power,” Sanguez said in a Facebook message.

The remote fly-in community in the Dehcho region has a population of less than 100 people, and sits on the Mackenzie River.

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A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for Jean-Marie River residents impacted by the flooding. So far $2,005 has been raised towards the page’s goal of $6,000.

“During this spring breakup, Jean Marie experienced severe flooding, resulting in an emergency evacuation of the village,”  Jeffrey Fabian wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Many had no time to save important items and many lost everything to the flood, including photos, clothing, beds, food, and equipment necessary to survive in a small community like Jean Marie River.”

Residents in other communities are returning home slowly after water levels subside in some areas.

Fort Simpson residents were evacuated over the weekend as water levels reached higher than 15 metres. Speaking with Cabin Radio, Fort Simpson Mayor Sean Whelly said some 700 residents had been displaced, with many being evacuated to Fort Smith and other communities, with some setting up campsites on higher ground near the village.

Fort Simpson residents had had power cut because of the flooding, with residents on higher ground urged to cut their power usage.

The evacuation order for Vale Island and West Channel residents was lifted on Monday. Water levels have dropped around Hay River, with the town saying there is a good flow of water along the West Channel. 

The Town of Hay River warned that water levels are still high and there is still ice jammed in the East Channel, which could breach the banks of the old town area. 

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