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Gjoa Haven comes together after 6 community members die

'They were connected to everybody. It touches everyone when tragedy happens,' said Gjoa Haven's mayor. A crisis team and mental health workers are headed to support the Nunavut community.

Crisis team and mental health workers headed to support the Nunavut community

A crisis team and mental health workers are headed to the community of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. (Jason Franson/CP)

Gjoa Haven has experienced tragedy before, but the past two weeks have been particularly difficult for the Nunavut hamlet after the death of six community members.

"They were connected to everybody. It touches everyone when tragedy happens. It makes it harder when it is unexpected," said Joanni Sallerina, Gjoa Haven's mayor.

Two men died in an all-terrain vehicle rollover, a father and son drowned, a community elder passed away at the continued care centre, and a staff member at one of the two schools had a heart attack.

Joanni Sallerina says the community is pulling together and supporting one another. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

The hamlet of about 1,200 has experienced adversity before, but not all at once like this, Sallerina said.

The community has pulled together supporting one another by visiting with the families as well as cooking and sharing food, he said.

You have to accept it and move on, and never forget.- Mayor Joanni Sallerina

Sallerina said the Red Cross and an additional mental health worker are already in the community, and a crisis team is en route. He also mentioned that the nurses and RCMP officers in the community have been very supportive.

"Elders are always saying you don't stop, you stand up and you continue because you can't keep it holding you back but you have to move forward," he said.

"It's hard for the first couple of days or weeks is hard, but you have to accept it and move on, and never forget."

The community is strong and will continue to move forward, Sallerina said.

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