Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
For immediate release
June 30th, 2023
MKO Grand Chief says relief efforts for Leaf Rapids evacuees wrought with inefficiencies
Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB –On Monday afternoon the evacuation of Leaf Rapids in northern Manitoba was evacuated under threat of forest fires. This set in motion a number of events which brought out the shortcomings of the way the Province of Manitoba has set up their emergency response efforts.
The result was evacuees were left waiting to access emergency services like food, hotel rooms and funds necessary for day-to-day necessities like toiletries and clothing. The approval process was such that each family unit or individual were processed one at a time.
Some of the evacuees left in such a hurry they didn’t have time to collect their identification, which is necessary to cash their assistance cheques. The EMO regional manager responsible did not arrive in Thompson until the day after the evacuation was ordered.
“We find this unacceptable,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “We have citizens from our communities who reside in Leaf Rapids. We will speak on behalf of our citizens regardless of where they live. This issue clearly shows that there is a need for changes in that system. It left our citizens, many of which who have children they care for, in dire straits.”
“We understand that it is difficult to assist people in need but in this case the Province failed to provide necessities in timely fashion. My contention is that communications failed and an inefficient bureaucracy resulted in our present day situation. That and the fact there is no mayor or council in Leaf Rapids makes it a difficult proposition at best for their citizens to access vital services, never mind finding a reliable means of assistance in an emergency. Now that we know what the issue is, it is up to the Province to fix it.”
“MKO, along with the City of Thompson stepped up and for that I am very grateful.”
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