Canadian Rangers deployed to assist with flooding relief in NWT communities

Flooding in Jean-Marie River. (Supplied by Tyrone Sanguez.)
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The Canadian Rangers have been called in to help Fort Simpson residents and other communities impacted by flooding ongoing throughout the territory.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources made the formal request on May 15, which was approved on the same day.

Evacuation is still being offered to Fort Simpson residents, although residents are now being allowed to return to the island.

According to the village’s Facebook page, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) has been working on restoring electricity to residents during the day Monday. The village is also working on restoring water, but says when water is restored a boil water advisory would be in effect.

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There are still a number of residents who remain evacuated outside the village.

Three flights have been provided from Fort Simpson to date, with the most recent flight heading to Hay River on Saturday evening with 24 evacuees on board.  Around 120 Fort Simpson residents have been evacuated to Fort Smith.

Evacuees have been accommodated at the Hay River flooding and the Fort Smith flooding shelter. 

A number of residents continue to live in tents uphill from the river.

A temporary insulated tent was set up by the Department of Health and Social Services, serving as a health centre. 

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The GNWT has also applied for federal funding to restock supplies. On May 15, 11,000 pounds of groceries was flown to Fort Simpson, supplied by the Regional Emergency Management Organization (EMO).

Around 34 of the 80 or so residents in Jean Marie River remain evacuated, after flooding saw water pour into some residents’ houses. Those evacuees are staying at the Fort Providence shelter.

The EMO is assessing the need for additional supports for evacuees, with an assessment of the damages set to be done shortly. Power will be restored by NTPC through a portable generator when it is safe to do so, according to a spokesperson from EMO.

In the meantime, the Department of Infrastructure is sending sea cans to Jean Marie River to be used by residents for storage until water levels subside.

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A number of other communities are also now on flood watch.

Residents in Tulita and Fort Good Hope should prepare their homes for an evacuation if necessary, says EMO.

There’s also an elevated risk of flooding in a number of communities, including Aklavik, Fort McPherson and Tuktoyaktuk.

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