Aklavik's state of emergency has ended, residents set to return

·2 min read
Water was drawing closer to some homes in the Hamlet of Aklavik, N.W.T. on May 30. (Submitted by Allen Kogiak - image credit)
Water was drawing closer to some homes in the Hamlet of Aklavik, N.W.T. on May 30. (Submitted by Allen Kogiak - image credit)

The state of emergency in Aklavik, N.W.T., has ended. It was called just over a week ago due to rising water levels as the community prepared for a possible flood.

The community of roughly 600 people was one of the latest of several communities in the Northwest Territories to be affected by historic flooding on the Mackenzie River, caused by the spring breakup. The hamlet is on the bank of the Peel Channel, which is affected by the Mackenzie River.

About 166 residents in total had been evacuated to Inuvik, including elders and other vulnerable people according to the territorial government.

With the water levels down, some are heading back to Aklavik Monday.

Andrew Charlie, hamlet's mayor, told CBC that after seeing what happened up river, the community had been expecting the worst.

"But, due to floods in previous years we did some upgrades on roads which helped quite a bit," Charlie said, adding it was "probably one of the factors that we didn't get hit so hard as we did in 2006."

Charlie said in a previous interview that water levels had at one point risen to 16.2 metres — the same height as the last significant flood in 2006. That's 1.1 metres below the highest record on file, according to the Northwest Territories government.

The hamlet sent a letter last week inviting the premier and minister of Municipal and Community Affairs to the community.

"I think it was good that they come firsthand ... to see something like this," Charlie said.

The visit took place over the weekend and included a community meeting for residents to bring up their concerns.

Charlie says the damage is mostly to the roads, particularly on the service road to the dump, and that it will take a couple of weeks to clean up debris.