Saskatchewan

Child's sickness blamed on ruined water supply

A 12-year-old boy from the James Smith Cree Nation was taken by air ambulance to Saskatoon for emergency treatment after he fell ill after drinking contaminated water on the reserve, which has been plagued by flooding.

Youngster may have contracted Shigella, health official says

Key roads on the James Smith Cree Nation have been ruined by flood water. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

A 12-year-old boy from the James Smith Cree Nation was taken by air ambulance to Saskatoon for emergency treatment, after he fell ill after drinking contaminated water on the reserve, which has been plagued by flooding.

The reserve's water supply was ruined when cisterns were overrun with water.

The health director for the community, Rey Lindain, said the youngster may have contracted Shigella, a disease often associated with unsanitary conditions.

Lindain said the boy was extremely weak, unresponsive and was suffering from diarrhea.

"I'm hoping that that's the only case that we have at the moment," Lindain told CBC News.

He said the youngster is no longer in hospital and is now doing well.

Officials of the James Smith Cree Nation said they have been told they will receive some federal and provincial flood assistance, however they do not yet know how much or when the funds will be available.

One official told CBC News the reserve has had difficulty dealing with flooded areas because they are operating with the assistance of a third party and that has produced added layers of bureaucracy.

As of Tuesday about 130 people have been forced to leave their homes, and most have been away from the reserve for five days.

A recent spell of rain has further delayed the evacuees' return.

Many of the evacuees are living in motels in nearby Melfort. Officials had them leave the community because flooding has ruined the roads that lead to their homes posing a risk in the event a need for an emergency vehicle arose.

The James Smith Cree Nation is about 160 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

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