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Premier Caroline Cochrane and Shane Thompson, Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, issued the following statement on behalf of Cabinet concerning the current flooding in Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation:
“For the past several months NWT residents and communities have been working hard to prepare for potential flooding this Spring. 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 department of Municipal and Community Affairs, Emergency Management Organization (EMO), has been activated and is providing support to Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation. The EMO has been an active partner in the emergency preparation and response and will continue to monitor and work with communities to address emergency needs, including evacuation shelters.
“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. 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.
“When waters do subside, the GNWT will continue our work with communities to focus on recovery. Until that time, please continue to follow the advice and recommendation of your leaders and emergency responders, the safety of residents is their top priority.
“This is also a stark reminder that the impacts of climate change will continue to challenge the resiliency of Northerners and the communities we all live in. 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. 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.
“We know Northerners to be resilient. Our strength is in our communities, when we come together to help one another in times like these. We are seeing this resilience in action this week in Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation. Let’s continue to support our friends and neighbours as we begin to recover and heal.”
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