Remote Manitoba First Nations declare state of emergency due to lack of winter road access – by Sarah Petz (CBC News Manitoba – February 06, 2024)

Chiefs say they’re not able to bring in hundreds of loads of essential supplies

The chiefs of four isolated First Nations in northeastern Manitoba say this year’s unusually warm weather has made it impossible to bring in hundreds of loads of essential supplies to their communities, via the province’s winter road system.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, the chiefs from the Island Lake region — which is comprised of the Wasagamack, St. Theresa Point, Red Sucker Lake and Garden Hill First Nations — said they are declaring a state of emergency as a result.

The chiefs say many of the roads have not opened because the ground isn’t frozen, while others have been damaged by rain and heavy trucks. In Garden Hill, Chief Charles Knott said the situation has become so dire that they haven’t been able to get any loads of supplies in this year, and only have about a week left of fuel.

“I don’t know what we’re gonna do if we run out,” he said. Knott said the First Nation’s school might have to temporarily close down if they can’t get the fuel that they need. The chiefs of Wasagamack, St. Theresa Point and Red Sucker Lake said they’re also waiting on food, fuel, medical supplies and building materials.

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