Feds approve request for N.W.T. flood assistance from Canadian Rangers

The federal ministers of defence and public safety made the announcement on Twitter Saturday. In an interview Thursday, N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod said the rangers could alleviate some of the volunteers helping with the flood efforts for Fort Simpson and Jean Marie River.

MP says government is ready with 'whatever assistance ... on hand'

A road in Fort Simpson flooded with water. Residents were told to evacuate last weekend because of the extremely high water levels coming into the village. (Sarah Camsell)

The federal government has approved the request for Canadian Rangers to help assist victims of flooding in the Northwest Territories. 

Federal Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan and Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair made the announcement on Twitter Saturday. 

In an interview Thursday, N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod said Fort Simpson Mayor Sean Whelly put in the request for the support.

McLeod said it would "be an easy mobilization," as the government is looking to use the local platoon in Fort Simpson to help out. CBC News is waiting to confirm these details. 

The Canadian Rangers are a sub-component of the Canadian Army Reserve, according to the federal government's website. The Rangers live and work in remote, isolated and coastal regions of the county and provide "light-equipped, self-sufficient mobile forces" to support in domestic national security and public safety operations.

'Volunteers are working overtime'

Flooding last weekend left much of Fort Simpson partly under water, and hundreds of residents had to leave their homes. Meanwhile, nearby Jean Marie River, a community of about 70 people, was practically abandoned as houses filled with water.

The school and buildings were severely damaged. The smell of fuel lingered in the air after the powerful flood water and ice blocks uprooted fuel tanks.

McLeod said both communities are "very keen" to make sure there will be support when the ice clears and the water recedes, though at the moment he says the communities have what they need.

"We're trying we're trying to stay abreast of what's what's going on and make sure everybody knows that we're here to help," McLeod said.

He said he's had meetings with Blair and Sajjan and that the federal government is ready to offer "whatever assistance the government has on hand."

"We expect there will be some focus on firewood, there will be some focus on getting some showers set up," McLeod said.

"And we're hoping that they'll be able to help some of the work that some of the volunteers are doing. You know, volunteers are working overtime and they're getting very exhausted right now."


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