Residents of Hay River, Fort Smith and K’atl’odeeche First Nation are being asked to pre-register for flights starting tomorrow morning to begin the process of returning home.
Officials gave an update at a 4 p.m. press conference Sept. 11.
”This weekend marked a significant milestone for the re-entry of NWT evacuees back to their home,” said Emergency Management Organization information officer Jay Boast. “Pre-registrations helps us to develop the passenger lists for reentry flights. From there we’re able to identify the appropriate aircraft available and the transportation needs on the ground. Flights will depart once we get confirmation from the community government that evacuation orders can be lifted. We will share information as target dates are set by the community governments and as they consider advice from our fire experts unnecessary support planning.
Pre-registration will open tomorrow at 8 a.m. and close on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.. Boast said there would be a call centre to provide information on the flights.
The last planes flew out of Calgary and Edmonton for residents of Yellowknife and surrounding area on Sept. 10. Boast said to date 2,876 vehicles have crossed the Dehcho Bridge going Northbound and 1,500 evacuees flown in through sponsored flights. Acting assistant deputy minister of Infrastructure Jeffrey Edison said that prior to the weekend, 5338 vehicles containing essential workers crossed the Dehcho bridge.
“Tomorrow’s launch of the pre-registration process for re-entry flights is an encouraging sign for evacuees from Hay River, Kátł’odeeche First Nation and Fort Smith, and my hope is that evacuees from Enterprise are not far behind you,” said Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs Shane Thompson. “This means you are one step closer to going home or getting started on a path to recovery. I encourage evacuees to take advantage of this process so that we can identify needs and start developing passenger lists to allow for a safe and efficient re-entry once evacuation orders are downgraded.”
People evacuated from Yellowknife can no longer get lodgings covered in Edmonton or Calgary.
Boast said the GNWT went to great lengths to inform people in Edmonton and Calgary who are evacuated from Yellowknife that funding would be cut off on Sept. 10.
“We worked with our partners in the Alberta Management Agency in Alberta in Calgary and Edmonton,” he said. “We communicated our plans through websites social media, through in some cases, direct correspondence. We had in some cases, our partners knock on hotel rooms. We put out information at all the reception centers. We also had a call center set up on Sunday to actually call people and confirm their status. So at this point, if there’s someone out there with very exceptional circumstances, they can again email email@example.com - but the fact of the matter is that we went to great lengths to make people very aware that Sunday was the final day.