The Hamlet of Aklavik, N.W.T., is still on high alert as water levels continue to waver, says Mayor Andrew Charlie on Monday.
“Water levels are still kind of high,” Charlie said. “It’s dropped for a bit and then it comes up a bit, drops again.”
He says many of the roads are still above water, since in the past, the community had elevated some of the roads. However, a few were still submerged as of Monday morning, including a service road to the community’s dump.
“People are still getting around,” Charlie said.
The remote community of roughly 600 people was on flood for about a week and is 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. A state of emergency was declared in the community over the weekend.
He said both stores, which “have stocked up and prepared for this” remain open, along with the post office. Schools and the local gas station are shut down.
Evacuation from the community began on Sunday morning, with about 140 people flown to Inuvik. About 26 others who are vulnerable or elderly, had earlier left the community as a precaution.
Many people went to stay with relatives in Inuvik, Charlie said, while others were welcomed to a recreation centre in Inuvik, and at Aurora College residences.
“Inuvik is showing its hospitality … everybody’s taken care of over there.”
Charlie told CBC News Sunday morning that water levels had 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.
“We’ve been warning our residents about this,” he said. “Whatever happens up river … eventually, we’ll get the same action down here. Right now everybody’s in good spirits, we’re just going to wait this out.”
He says when the hamlet feels it’s safe, it will lift the state of emergency and then it will start bringing residents back.
“Once the levels go down and people come down, we’ll start to clean up,” he said, adding it’s mostly a matter of cleaning the ditches. “We’ll get that done in a couple of days.”