Sunday, April 27, 2008

Water Woes in the North

The threat of flooding in the northern communities of Kashechewan and Fort Albany is bringing about 2000 residents south to take shelter in community centres around the province. The waters of the Albany River continue to rise while large ice jams damage the dikes set in place to prevent flooding.
This is the 4th annual evacuation in a row for the First Nation residents as the repaired dikes continue to crumble. Apparently it is easier and more cost-effective to evacuate (by air using more than a dozen helicopters, military transport planes and charter aircraft) the townspeople every year and spend millions on repairs than it is to relocate them to higher ground.

You see, back in 1957 the federal government decided in its infinite wisdom that moving the Cree-speaking people to a flood plain was a sensible idea. So much so that they are considering spending $200 million on repairs and flood protection. Mistakes are costly after all, and one doesn't go about broadcasting mistakes of such magnitude if one can help it. Well, not if you're the federal government.

Out of sight, out of mind.

If you're thinking the name Kashechewan sounds familiar, it could be because of the mass suicide attempt by 21 teen boys, including a nine-year old, that occured just over a year ago. What level of despair must exist for such a tragedy to occur?

Or perhaps it was the tainted water scandal of October, 2005 when residents were evacuated due to high levels of e-coli in the water. Severe rashes, blisters, nausea and diarrhea endangered especially the young and the elderly. People had been boiling their water off and on for five years before water purification machinery was installed. Again, someone (aka federal government) upgraded the treatment system, but did not move the intake pipe, which is downstream from the sewage lagoon. Result - e-coli every time a tap was turned on. Is it any wonder many people prefer bottled water? Remember Walkerton, Ontario?

How can we help our First Nations people? Donate to the Red Cross. The Red Cross is providing all the necessities of life to the evacuees and welcomes financial donations.


creme brulee aka GH said...

conversation someone likely had;

so, mr. Prime minister, we found some land for the natives. it's on a flood plain though.

why is it called a flood plain?

the land floods, you stupid ass.

it will do.

(true, except for the stupid ass part.)

No Nonsense Girl said...

I will donate to help them. :( How sad....