Neskantaga First Nation has not had running water in their homes since September 12, 2019. Community members have not been able to bathe, cook, or clean since then. Facility workers have managed to restore some water flow into homes, but with extremely low pressure. Nurses have reported almost a dozen new medical cases as a result of exposure to this non-chlorinated flow.
The Chief and Council of Neskantaga made the difficult decision on September 15 to evacuate community members from the fly-in community located 450 km north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Currently, 188 people are to be evacuated in the urgent first phase, including 77 children and 17 infants. Another 85 people are awaiting evacuation, including 11 children.
A bit of context…
Neskantaga has been on the longest boil-water-advisory in Canada – this struggle for clean running water has been a part of their lives for 25 years. The trauma, health effects, turmoil, displacement, and physical pain of this issue has been ongoing for an entire generation.
As community member Peter Moonias put it,
“We are completely reliant on the government for services that are killing us, blind us, starve us, and scar us. This is an international human rights issue.”
What the community needs…
The community is requesting support for this evacuation effort to Thunder Bay, which is costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars for flights, basic accommodations, and meals. The community also requires additional funds to support those members who remain in Neskantaga and have had to spend money on costly bottled water, rather than on essential and basic needs like diapers, infant formula, and food. The costs of food and other basics in the fly-in community are extremely high.
Donations can made to the “Matawa Communities Circle of Giving-Neskantaga First Nation” category found at this link: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/id/102473/.