How to help Hay River as evacuees arrive in Yellowknife

People in Yellowknife have been stepping up and looking for ways to help as flood evacuees from Hay River and the Kátł'odeeche First Nation continue to arrive in the city on Thursday.

'The City is here to support you in your time of need,' says Yellowknife mayor

Crystal Craig and Arlene Lavoie-Stubbs are getting evacuees registered and fed at the Yellowknife Multiplex. (Marc Winkler/CBC)

People in Yellowknife have been stepping up and looking for ways to help as flood evacuees from Hay River and the Kátł'odeeche First Nation continue to arrive in the city on Thursday.

"The City is here to support you in your time of need," said Yellowknife mayor Rebecca Alty in a statement.

The Yellowknife Multiplex was bustling Thursday morning as Hay River residents were "pouring in," according to CBC's Loren McGinnis who was at the site. 

Evacuees are being asked to check in at the Multiplex as soon as they arrive in the city. Workers at the facility on were giving out water, juice and food as they registered people arriving.

Cots awaiting flood evacuees from Hay River, N.W.T., at Yellowknife's Multiplex. (Graham Shishkov/CBC)

Arlene Lavoie-Stubbs, territorial director of child and family services in Yellowknife, said once registered, people can access a cot if they have no other accommodations. The evacuee centre is also providing mental health services and activities for children and youth. 

Crystal Craig is the territorial manager for child and youth placement services. 

"We've been here since the wee hours of the morning, since about 3 a.m. preparing."

There are roughly 375 cots for evacuees and a separate area for eating and socializing. 

If needed, organizers say they can expand the number of shelter beds into buildings like the arena and the fieldhouse.

The government is also providing medical assessment services. Pets are not allowed in the multiplex. 

The City of Yellowknife is urging any businesses who want to help with the relief efforts to contact the city's chamber of commerce. Community groups that want to organize events or activities for evacuees are asked to contact the city to coordinate.

Manitoulin Transport has offered its yard as a place for people to park their vehicles or campers for those who drove to Yellowknife.

Individuals who want to make donations are encouraged to give money instead of goods, and to do so through the United Way.   

Offers of help for Hay River residents have been pouring in on the Hay River Helps Facebook page, and two Paradise Gardens residents who fled their home Sunday have spent the past three days collecting donations for residents.

Those residents, Bhreagh Ingarfield and Thomas Whittaker, are planning to take down a large load of goods Friday with the help of numerous Yellowknife businesses and organizations. Anyone wishing to donate pumps, hoses, dehumidifiers or cleaning supplies can contact Ingarfield.

Justin Rivera is also looking for people to temporarily donate gas-powered water pumps. Anyone wishing to help can text or call Rivera at 867-765-8173.

A "Welcome Hay River" sign is unfurled inside Yellowknife's Multiplex Thursday as people prepared to welcome evacuees from the flooding in Hay River. (Graham Shishkov/CBC)

The Village of Fort Simpson has also issued a notice that it's taking steps to welcome evacuees, despite its limited space. 

It's offering accommodation at its arena and says "alternate accommodations" could also be arranged. 

Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation Chief Kele Antoine and Fort Simpson Mayor Sean Whelly said in a statement that even though the ferry is out, the village has some resources to fly people across the river. 

The United Way is collecting funds to support Hay River residents. It said Thursday that all funds will go toward giving short-term and long-term aid to residents affected by the flooding. People in Yellownife can donate at the tills at the Co-op as well.

The N.W.T. government has also announced it will match donations to the United Way up to $150,000.

SPCA seeks help with pets

As Hay River residents take refuge in Yellowknife from the flood, the N.W.T. SPCA is asking Yellowknifers who can foster pets to reach out.

The organization said Thursday morning some people have been told they can bring their pets to the shelter, but the SPCA has little room.

"We can help but cannot take on big numbers," the organization wrote on Facebook.

Those who have space to foster can email with information on how many pets, and what type, they can take in.

Those who need help for their pets can text 867-446-6527.

For Hay River residents staying in southern N.W.T. communities, the Hamlet of Fort Providence has offered kennels at its local pound to help shelter larger dogs.

The hamlet has offered to feed and care for dogs until owners can take them back.

Residents who went south to Alberta can reach out to the Manning Veterinary Clinic, which has offered to board pets at no cost.