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What’s being done for vulnerable populations in Yellowknife

During evacuation in Yellowknife, many people with family members belonging to vulnerable populations are wondering what supports are available to get their loved ones to safety.

We don’t have all the answers, but here’s what we’ve found so far.

Daryl Dolynny, the president and CEO at Avens, says things are a bit hectic there. However, they are working on getting some of their “most critical residents” evacuated, while their long-term care residents are on standby for the next available plane.

He says most of their staff have left, but the entire management team is at the centre where they will remain until all Avens residents are in the air.

For Yellowknife residents in the care of the NWT Health and Social Services Authority, David Maguire says they are currently coordinating transport with a focus on in-facility long term care patients and inpatients at Stanton.



Transportation to muster areas, such as Sir John for those evacuating via air, is also being coordinated. More info to come.

Emily Diamond is a professor at the Wright Institute, the author of a book titled Basic Disaster Preparedness for the Western States, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and the director of the Health Inequality Studies Group. She says for families with disabilities, evacuating sooner rather than later is crucial.

When evacuating, make sure you have all assistive devices for children with disabilities or dependent adults, as well as medications in prescription bottles, or a photo of prescription bottles to make the renewal process easier.

If you are going to a registration centre, make sure to let them know you are traveling with someone with a disability. They may direct you to another centre with different resources.



Lastly, Diamond says care for children during this time is crucial regarding the long-term impacts of evacuation. “Make sure you comfort them, have something they love like a toy or doll. Make sure they know they are loved so much.”

In a press conference on Wednesday, CBC’s Luke Carroll asked about the homeless population, and what was being done to ensure they evacuated safely.

Municipal and Community Affairs Minister Shane Thompson said they are currently working with the day shelter and the warming shelter, as well as having conversations with the unhoused population. “We’re not leaving anyone behind, we’re working on that,” he said.