Arctic communities behind on disaster prep

The Monk-Gordon Arctic Security Program held meetings last week in Ottawa on preparing Northern communities for natural disasters.

Report expected to provide recommendations

Flooding in Nahanni Butte, N.W.T., in 2012 forced residents to evacuate to Fort Simpson. A report by the Monk-Gordon Arctic Security Program this spring is expected to provide recommendations to help Northern communities better prepare for natural disasters.

A Canadian think-tank says Northern communities are not prepared for natural disasters.

The Monk-Gordon Arctic Security Program held meetings on the subject last week in Ottawa.

According to program director Sara French, if something goes wrong in small communities across the North many aren't prepared.

"This really is a life and death situation when it comes to disaster preparedness in the North," she says.

French is assembling a report on disaster preparedness after the round table discussion last week in Ottawa.

She says participants noticed climate change has increased the likelihood of disasters in the North.

"If you are used to the river being frozen at this time of year and you happen to go through, what resources can you draw upon?" she says. "But also, how are the communities prepared for floods or forest fires which climate change is exacerbating and making so much more present?"

French says the report, which is expected to be finished this spring, will provide a number of recommendations to help communities better prepare themselves.