Nfld. & Labrador

Hopedale AngajukKâk says water crisis at 'dangerous level'

The AngajukKâk of Hopedale says the town's water crisis has reached a dangerous level, and all three lines to the main reservoir are now frozen.

Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Keith Russell says water pressure issue corrected

Jimmy Tuttauk is the angajukKâk, or mayor, of Hopedale. (Leah Balass/CBC)

The AngajukKâk of Hopedale told CBC News Monday that the town's water crisis has reached a dangerous level, and all three lines to the main reservoir are now frozen.

Jimmy Tuttauk said there is no water flowing through the community, and basic needs are not being met. 

The Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, Keith Russell, was painting a somewhat different picture later in the day, however, saying water pressure has been restored.

Tuttauk said the situation is making conditions harder for the sick, since basic sanitation is falling short in many homes, where there is not enough water to flush toilets.

Town leaders called a state of emergency earlier this month for a problem that seems to surface every year.

The Canadian Red Cross and other groups have sent shipments of bottled water to the community.

Tuttauk said there has been some help from the province, but he believes it falls short of the assistance that's needed.

He is calling for the province to help fund the necessary upgrades to the water and sewer infrastructure. He estimates the total cost at many millions of dollars.

Russell was asked about the situation in the House of Assembly Monday afternoon.

"The water situation this morning, where they had zero water pressure, is now corrected," said Russell.

"And they're doing much better. I just got off the phone before we came into the House here with the  AngajukKâk again to make sure that everything we're doing for the people of Hopedale is the right thing to be doing at this time and that they're being served, and he is very happy with the co-ordination efforts up to this point."

Russell said officials with fire and emergency services and the Department of Municipal Affairs are in the community.

As for the long-term, he said the government is assessing the community's needs.

With files from Leah Balass

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