Returning to Hay River: GNWT lays on buses, provides guidance

Last modified: May 15, 2022 at 9:38pm

Buses will be provided to help Hay River evacuees return to their community and assess their homes, the territorial government said late on Sunday.

For bus departure times and to reserve a seat, check information boards or ask reception staff at your nearest evacuation centre. “There will be many evacuees waiting to return so please be patient,” the territory stated.

Earlier on Sunday, the Town of Hay River said all residents were now free to return but stressed that roads are inaccessible and services down in some areas. For example, returning to Vale Island – while permitted – would be a challenge as the only road onto the island is not expected to reopen for several days.


The Kátł’odeeche First Nation has asked members to stay away from the community for the time being.

In the case of Hay River, the territorial government recommends that households with multiple members send one person back to check on the property while others remain at their temporary accommodation.

“We understand the Hay River reception centre is currently not operational. This means there are limited options for accommodation in Hay River. Please keep this in mind when planning your return,” the territory stated on Sunday evening.

“If you are aware that your home is currently not safe to return to, you can stay at an evacuation centre.

“If you do return to town, realize your home is uninhabitable, and are unable to find other accommodation, you may return to the evacuation centre you were at.”


The territory’s update included a range of guidance designed to help people assess their property and recover from the flood.

Here are some of the highlights. Read the full document on the GNWT’s website.

Pathfinders – in other words, people who can help you out – will be available to help you fill out an application for disaster assistance. From Monday, email them or call (867) 767-9161 ext 21031 for help. (There’s an updated disaster assistance policy coming on Monday, watch our website for full details.)


When you get home: There’s a checklist available to help you assess the damage and figure out what to do next. Calling your insurance company is an important step to take as soon as you can.

If you get home and the property isn’t habitable, you can call 1-833-699-0188 for evacuee assistance, arrange to stay somewhere else, or come back to an evacuation centre.

Getting work done: You can choose whether emergency work on your home is completed by contractors hired through your insurance company or, if you don’t have insurance, through GNWT-hired contractors or by seeing to the work yourself.

“Emergency work may be covered by the GNWT if it is not already covered by insurance or other funding,” the territory stated on Sunday.

“No matter what, residents should keep a log, on paper or electronically, of what work they have done, the cost, and keep documentation like receipts, photographs, and videos of work done wherever possible.

“Whether it is for insurance or disaster assistance, this will make the process easier.”

The territory hopes contractors will arrive this week to begin damage assessments and work, though residents are warned “it will take some time” for some of the more serious flood damage to be fully addressed.

Water and sewer specialists are expected to arrive on Monday. Assessing fuel spills is also a priority, as is fully reopening the airport.