Following the evacuation order of Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation late Wednesday, May 11, the City of Yellowknife has opened the doors of its multiplex to help community members find some peace among the chaos.

The scene was an emotional one at the Multiplex as some flood affected individuals could be seen in tears regarding the current situation.

“At 2 a.m., we knew that there were about 700 vehicles that had mobilized in Enterprise,” city manager Sheilla Bassi-Kellet said.

“As residents in Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation endure historic flooding that is wreaking havoc on lives and property, the City is here to support you in your time of need,” Yellowknife mayor Rebecca Alty said.

RELATED REPORTING: Hay River, K’atlodeeche ordered to evacuate

The Multiplex received a quick turn around to help assist those coming in from Hay River and K’atlodeeche First Nation, as staff were on the ground at 3 a.m., according to Arlene Lavoie-Stobbs, territorial director of child, family, and community wellness

“We mobilized around midnight, calling, figuring out a plan,” she said.

As of now, staff now have the Multiplex set up to include a bed area in the rink, a food distribution area in the DND gym, and a registration station for evacuee

Individuals heading into the main entrance way are to provide necessary information at the station, where-in the Yellowknife Region of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority will use the information to help inform people as to what the situation is like in their particular area of Hay River.

Plus, the information will also determine whether evacuees will stay at the Multiplex or if they have another option in Yellowknife that they can utilize.

Those that do stay will have food (apples, oranges, bananas) and water provided for them with assistance from the City.

“So there’s food, snacks, all the meals will be taken care of,” Lavoie-Stobbs said. “Drinks. Everything.”

As well, children and youth will also be supported at the Multiplex with the help of a mental health team.

“Just engaging through this hard time,” she continued.

As to the amount of people that have been choosing the Multiplex option, Lavoie-Stobbs said that they’re expecting around “half-and-half” of the estimated 4,000 people coming in.

At 1:00 p.m., there were “approximately 130 evacuees from Hay River and Kátł’odeeche who have arrived and registered at the multiplex,” according to Bassi-Kellet.

Currently, the Multiplex has up to 350 cots, with the capacity to go over to the Fieldhouse should it be required.

The Community Arena in Yellowknife was also one of the locations that was being looked into to help provide support for incoming residents. For now though, the situation is being assessed.

Discussions regarding the City’s assistance for those affected by the flood were brought forward during City Council’s meeting on May 9.

City manager Sheila Bassi-Kellet had said that the Government of the Northwest Territories had re-approached them the same day (having initially discussed flood related safety protocols in mid-April) to talk about possibly assisting citizens in should Hay River evacuation be announced.

Now a reality, the City has closed the multiplex to the public until further notice as it provides shelter and food for those that choose to stay in the building.

For those affected by the flood that are unable to make their way into the facility to register, they can reach out to 1 (833) 699-0188 for assistance.

The City is working with several Government of the Northwest Territories departments through the North Slave Emergency Measures Organization in responding to the need to provide immediate shelter for evacuees arriving in our community.

Please text 867-446-6527 if you need help.

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