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Dehcho

Dozens remain away from Jean Marie River as damage is assessed


More than 30 Jean Marie River residents remain in Fort Providence as officials begin to assess flood damage to both the community’s homes and the surrounding environment.

The territorial government said on Sunday it was “making preparations for an initial assessment of damaged buildings in the community,” which flooded earlier this month, forcing residents to evacuate.

Thirty-four people from Jean Marie River were staying in Fort Providence as of Friday, the territory said in astatement.

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Power will be restored to Jean Marie River using a portable generator, that statement continued, but only “when it is safe to do so.” So far, there is no indication of when that might be.

Seacans are being delivered to the community so residents can store items until the water subsides. Chief Stanley Sanguez earlier this week asked for physical donations to the community to be paused as, much like in Fort Simpson, storage space is limited.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources sent officers to “monitor the entrance to the community and offer support.” Those officers are also beginning to assess spills caused by the flood, such as fuel leaking from uprooted tanks.

Tents, stoves, and shower kits have been provided to emergency camps for residents, the territory added. Some Jean Marie River residents have chosen to camp at Kelly Lake, off the access road to the community, until floodwater subsides.

Elsewhere in the NWT, water levels dropped significantly in Fort Simpson on Sunday, allowing residents to begin establishing the scale of damage to their homes.

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Full recovery and restoration in both Jean Marie River and Fort Simpson is expected to be weeks away, at best.

Flood watch continues in Tulita and Fort Good Hope. The GNWT said “elevated risk” of flooding remained in Tuktoyaktuk, Aklavik, and Fort McPherson.

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