Emergency Management in B.C. too slow to help First Nations impacted by floods

Topic(s): Climate Emergency, Health & Wellness, Poverty, Racism
Source: The Record

British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee says he has received assurances from the federal government that it will be committing resources and help for the 40 or so First Nations that have been impacted by the catastrophic flooding event that has impacted the province since Sunday.

Teegee says he spoke to both Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller and Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu on Nov. 17.

First Nations in the flooded areas in the southwestern interior have either been evacuated or isolated by roads that are washed out or made impassable by overflowing rivers or mudslides.

“I immediately (made them aware of the) resources in terms of funding and the needs for some of the communities that are asking for help. The current arrangement with Emergency Management in British Columbia, which is a provincial agency, isn’t quick enough. It isn’t effective. We need a quicker way to get the resources to our communities and that’s what I’m asking for and made them aware of,” said Teegee.

While details have yet to be worked out, Teegee says helicopters or boats may be used to deliver food, water or fuel for generators.

The ministers were part of an instant response team announced yesterday by federal minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair to address the emergency. Also on the team are ministers for transport, agriculture and defence.

Teegee’s discussion with Miller and Hajdu came on the same day that the Horgan government declared a state of emergency.

That declaration should have been made 48 hours earlier, says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). Read more