PIKANGIKUM FIRST NATION – A state of emergency has been called on the Pikangikum First Nation. In a statement issued earlier today, the First Nation states, “For several days, there has been no supply of potable water or running water in any form. With an on-reserve population of 2,400 community members are now forced to gather water from the nearby lake, which is unsafe to drink. Parents may have no choice but to expose their children to contaminated drinking water. As a result, there is a significant risk of sickness or worse, especially among younger and older citizens.
Two years ago, a government study indicated that the Pikangikum water system was likely to break down completely, sooner rather than later. This has now come to pass. Pikangikum houses have never had indoor water supply. The water system in Pikangikum requires and immediate and comprehensive overhaul.
When the water system is restored, the Pikangikum First Nation government will not endorse use of the water until its safety has been certified by an independent inspector.
Pikangikum and the Independent First Nations Alliance (IFNA) are exercising due diligence by ordering at least two 21,000 litre shipments of bottled water. The first shipment should arrive by air (Wasaya) on Saturday morning, April 16 in the remote north-western community that has no all year road access. This schedule may be affected by bad weather which has been forecast for the area. Pikangikum is using its own limited financial resources to pay for the water and its transport.
The local Health Canada clinic has relied on some stored water, but this is running out. Proper patient care requires a reliable supply of potable water.
This is a state of emergency. There is a real risk of sickness or worse. It is shocking and unacceptable that this kind of situation can take place in Canada”.