Dene Nation set up flooding command centre

Drone shots of the breakup along Hay River. (Supplied by Brad Mapes.)
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The Dene Nation have set up the Dene National Flood Command Centre to help coordinate support for communities impacted by flooding in the NWT.

A team at the centre will be meeting daily to gather information and send aid.

“To be quite frank, we have not seen a situation this dangerous in many, many years. We knew we had the capacity and the networks to act swiftly, so we’re offering targeted support,” Dene Nation National Chief Norman Yakeleya said in a statement. 

“People are struggling, both those who have been evacuated and those who haven’t been able to cross the waters safely.”

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Fort Good Hope, in the Sahtu region, was the latest community to be put on flood alert. The community of around 500 people sits along the Mackenzie River, which is continuing to see breakup.

Residents in Jean-Marie River returned to their community with a number of houses  A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for those impacted by the flooding, with $2,005 has been raised towards the page’s goal of $6,000.

Fort Simpson residents were evacuated over the weekend as water levels reached higher than 15 metres. 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 centre will help build experience for running similar operations in the future, says Yakelaya. 

The Dene Nation will produce an emergency response manual” to help the Dene Nation run emergency response programs in the future, and “ensure our people are not disproportionately affected by changing weather patterns across the territory into the future,” added Yakelaya.

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