Aklavik residents evacuate to Inuvik as flooding impacts community

A picture of the Mackenzie river. (Supplied by Adeline Landry.)
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Some Aklavik residents have been evacuated to Inuvik as the community declares a State of Emergency, with water levels rising.

Water levels have been rising as breakup continues along the Mackenzie River, with water breaching the banks of the river in the community over the weekend.

On Friday, around 25 long-term care home residents were evacuated to Inuvik, and have been living in the Aurora College residence buildings or with family.

On Sunday, an official evacuation was declared, with 141 residents travelling to Inuvik.

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Residents are staying at the Midnight Sun Complex in Inuvik, with 50 cots set up, with capacity for 50 more if needed. The Town of Inuvik will be organizing food to provide to evacuees.

Around 600 people live in Aklavik, the remote fly-in community hamlet in the Beaufort Delta, which sits along the Mackenzie River.

In a statement, Premier Caroline Cochrane said managing the situation in Aklavik is the GNWT’s top priority.

“As river break-up and the flooding risk continues to change rapidly it is still too early to speculate on potential damages or recovery requirements,” Cochrane said in a statement. 

“The GNWT is closely monitoring the situation and will be addressing these issues as quickly as possible when it is safe and possible to do so.”

Aklavik had been one of a number of communities put on flood watch as water levels continue to rise along the Mackenzie River. Tulita and Fort McPherson have also been on flood watch.

The Regional Emergency Management Organization had moved resources away from a couple of communities to focus on responding to flooding in Fort Good Hope. Earlier in May, the EMO had spotted an ice jam present downriver near the community.

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