Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 22, 2023

Now: 21 First Nations Under Evacuation Orders and Alerts in BC -- Yellowknife Evacuees Angry over Lack of Federal Aid

"We've been abandoned." Anger in Shuswap.

Justin McElroy · CBC News · 

British Columbia, Canada -- Across the Shuswap, as small communities enter their fifth day contending with a massive wildfire that has destroyed blocks of homes, one sentiment comes up repeatedly.

"We feel like we've been abandoned," said Tracy Wojciechowski, publisher of the community newsletter North Shuswap Kicker. 

"People are exhausted, people are emotional, people aren't getting sleep, and people are frustrated with what appears to have been a lack of communication."

Now: 21 First Nations Under Evacuation Orders and Alerts in BC 

APTN reports: "As of Tuesday, August 22, evacuation orders and alerts are in place for 21 First Nations due to growing wildfires that are sweeping across the province.

British Columbia remains in a provincial state of emergency, enacting emergency orders including travel restrictions in Okanagan cities to preserve accommodations for evacuees and roads for emergency vehicles.

Cabin Radio -- Lack of Federal Aid for Yellowknife Evacuees

So far, the territorial government has provided no supports for evacuees who arranged their own travel or accomodations, or evacuated prior to the official order.

On Tuesday afternoon, NWT finance minister Caroline Wawzonek said she recognizes the distress over the lack of financial aid for people who have incurred costs related to evacuation. She said her department is hastening to “run options” to roll out more help.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous that the people who fled Yellowknife, Hay River or other areas at risk with their own vehicles or before an evacuation order was given are now being told that their expenses won’t be covered,” Green Party Deputy Leader Jonathan Pedneault was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s release.

“Nobody should be penalized for not waiting until an evacuation order was given or for using their own vehicle. If anything, they should be rewarded for lessening the burden on the authorities.”

Read the full article at Cabin Radio

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