By Caitrin Pilkington, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The N.W.T. government has begun a review of flood preparedness and emergency response in Hay River and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation reserve after this past spring’s catastrophic flooding.
The first phase of the review, this month and next month, asks residents to share their perspectives around the territorial government’s level of preparedness and overall response to the flood.
The second phase, which does not yet have a definitive timeline, focuses on the recovery from flooding in Hay River, Paradise Valley and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation.
Known as an After Action Review, the territory says the review is a routine procedure for emergency management officials and will look at risk assessment, response, recovery and communications, as well as the coordination of responsibilities between leaders during and after the flood.
Speaking in November last year, Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs Shane Thompson said $174 million was the latest estimate for the total cost of flood response, recovery and mitigation, not counting costs covered by private insurance.
The GNWT says it is footing that bill for now but plans to seek reimbursement from federal disaster assistance programs.
By email in November, Maca spokesperson Jennifer Young said the GNWT, Town of Hay River and federal government were discussing which projects could be included in such a claim.
Anyone affected by the 2022 flood – including businesses, community governments and emergency response participants – is asked to provide feedback in an online survey open until January 23.
It may be years before the conclusions of the review are available to the public. Fort Simpson’s After Action Review, following flooding in 2021, has yet to be released.
Caitrin Pilkington is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Cabin Radio.
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