North

Wind and rain batter Sanikiluaq hamlet office, staff displaced

Administrative staff in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, are scrambling to find a temporary space after winds ripped off the hamlet building’s roof last week, and then torrential rain flooded the offices. 

'Mother Nature did not like us last week,' says hamlet official after 98 km/h winds, 60 mm of rain

In an email to CBC, the senior administrative officer of the Nunavut hamlet said the office is a 'total disaster,' after winds ripped off the roof, and then heavy rain followed. (Submitted by Alison Drummond)

Administrative staff in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, are scrambling to find a temporary space after winds ripped off the hamlet building's roof last week, and then torrential rain flooded the offices. 

In an email to CBC News, the senior administrative officer of the hamlet said the office is a "total disaster."

Alison Drummond said the roof was completely ripped off last Tuesday, when they saw winds of up to 98 km/h. The hamlet was working to get temporary waterproofing up in the meantime, but the supplies weren't due to get in until Friday. Then the rain hit on Thursday.

"We had over 60 millimetres of rain, and it just came through every opening, every crack down inside the walls," she told CBC in an interview.

"Mother Nature did not like us last week."

Drummond says parts of the office are under seven to 15 centimetres of water. (Submitted by Alison Drummond)

Drummond said some areas of the office are under seven to 15 centimetres of water.

"We're waiting for the people that can properly tell us what the total damage is. But, right now, it's one big soggy mess."

Staff spent three days salvaging critical computer servers and documents. Drummond said it's still not known if servers and backed-up data are damaged. 

She said it will be at least five days before the hamlet can resume administrative operations. Twelve departments have been impacted.

Drummond and the finance officer are working from the municipal garage, using phones, tablets and laptops "and a lot of pen and paper."

"It's challenging," she said.

The senior administrative officer says they're still assessing the damage after the roof was ripped off. (Submitted by Alison Drummond)

Drummond said government officials, including Nunavut's premier, are expected to fly in to assess the damage later this week. The premier had already been planning the visit to the community.

She said the response from the government has been quick, "however the task of relocating 12 offices and staff to temporary locations is daunting."

The Nunavut Department of Community and Government Services is looking for a temporary location to house the administrative offices for potentially up to a year. 

Drummond said municipal services like sewer, water, buses, etc., are still functioning as usual. Though it could take up to a month or two until they're fully operational on the administrative side.

"That's taken a little bit of a beating," she said.

There was also damage to the roof of Amaulik Inns North, a hotel in the community of about 900 people.

There was also damage to the roof of Amaulik Inns North, a community hotel. (Submitted by Jimmy Meeko)

With files from Eva Michael, Sara Frizzell

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