State of emergency declared by Remote Manitoba First Nations due to lack of winter road access

Representative image of Toronto weather. courtesy: Pixabay

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Winnipeg: A state of emergency has been declared by Remote Manitoba First Nations due to the unavailability of some winter roads that its communities rely on for essential goods have become impassable due to the warmer weather.

Federal and provincial governments are being called by the leaders of the 49-member Nishnawbe Aski Nation, who met this week in Thunder Bay, Ontario to take action to ensure critical supplies can be delivered.

30 of the organization’s remote communities depend on the winter road season, they said to receive essentials, including fuel, equipment, non-perishable goods, as well as construction materials to build housing and infrastructure.

Less than a week after the First Nations Chiefs put forth a proposal for an urgent need for all-season roads, the state of emergency was declared as climate change threatens the current winter road system their communities rely on. 

At a news conference earlier this week, some expressed concerns that communities may have to have supplies airlifted in. 

This year, it’s been particularly challenging, said Vincent Simms of Red Sucker Lake First Nation who spent years constructing and maintaining winter roads in the region, adding that northern Manitoba has been experiencing the same warm winter weather that the rest of the province has. 

A statement from the organization lays blame for the state of the roads on winter temperatures that are “significantly” warmer than normal.

A spokesperson for Indigenous Services Canada reportedly said that being aware of the state of emergency they are working with communities in northern regions to construct the remaining winter roads.