Premier Caroline Cochrane and Minister Shane Thompson called for more federal support in climate change and emergency preparedness in a joint statement following the Hay River area flood, May 12.
Both said the Town of Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation saw some of the worst flooding imaginable but that the territorial government remains supportive as the community endures flooding and leading toward a recovery phase.
“For the past several months NWT residents and communities have been working hard to prepare for potential flooding this Spring,” the ministers stated.
“This week, for some, their worst fears were realized as break up began and waters started to rise and continued to rise to never-before-seen levels in some areas. Some had very little warning and had to react quickly to stay safe, while leaving their home, their possessions, and for some their business, to endure the water and ice.”
The Municipal and Community Affairs, which Thompson oversees, involves the Emergency Management Organization which provides emergency preparedness and other services to help the Town and reserve.
“To the residents of Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation, we see you and we know that these are incredibly challenging times for you,” the ministers stated.
“While we don’t yet know the extent of the damage, as the river continues to flood parts of your communities, our government is committed to ensuring your safety and to providing the support you need.”
The advisory states that when waters subside, a focus on recovery will begin and people are in the meantime asked to follow recommendations by leaders and emergency responders.
Climate change and being able to sustain Northern communities remains the big takeaway from the flooding event, the ministers said.
“This isn’t the first time our communities and residents have been put to the test by flooding, and sadly, it won’t be the last,” Thompson and Cochrane said.
“The flooding in NWT communities is a reminder of why we need the Federal government to support our efforts when it comes to climate change, particularly emergency preparedness.”