Some Manitoba First Nations communities aren’t willing to wait for the province to declare a formal state of emergency.
Manitoba was hit hard by a record-breaking storm that began Thursday, leaving tens of thousands of Manitobans without power, even days later.
Premier Brian Pallister said Friday that he was preparing to declare a state of emergency.
That process, however, is too long for The Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO), which said Sunday that it’s imploring Indigenous Services Canada to respond to the needs of these communities immediately, without waiting the standard 72 hours.
“Not everyone lives in a major city like Winnipeg or Brandon, so there need to be appropriate measures and policies in place to help the people who need it most in a weather crisis,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels.
“People’s crucial supplies are running out, and it is irresponsible to allow such a timeline rule to prevent public aid from being dispersed when it is needed.
“Canada has to do better.”
SCO said multiple communities have been affected by power outages, including Pauingassi, Ebb and Flow, Sandy Bay, Dakota Tipi, Long Plain, Dakota Plains, and O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nations.
The Interlake Reserves Tribal Council has declared its own state of emergency in Kinonjeoshtegon, Lake Manitoba, Pinaymootang, Peguis, Dauphin River, and Little Saskatchewan First Nations.
“Our communities are vulnerable in natural disasters such as these,” said tribal council chairman Cornell McLean.
“Our tribal council and member communities have led these emergency management developments for years and we have determined this as the time to declare.”
Manitoba Red Cross said it will be helping to evacuate people from some of the affected communities.
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