The Yukon government is working on supporting people affected by ongoing flooding in the Klondike Valley.
Eighty-two evacuees have registered with the Yukon government’s emergency support services due to ongoing flooding in the Klondike region as of May 29, according to territorial government officials. Many of those evacuees are staying in hotels and private accommodations. Access to groceries, meals, clothing and medications has been provided.
Specific details have not been released on potential funding for households and businesses recovering from flooding impacts as officials stated the Yukon government is currently focused on dealing with the immediate situation.
In a flood briefing on May 29, Premier Ranj Pillai announced the territorial government will provide a “remediation and recovery program tailored to the needs of individuals and businesses impacted by flooding.”
“There will be multiple funding streams available to support Yukoners needs as they look to recover from this natural disaster. Work on these supports is underway,” he said, adding that it will be a “revised program” from what has been seen in previous years.
“We will be providing again several components of financial assistance, including support for primary residence replacement and repairs, secondary residence to support repairs and remediation, and supports for business and landowners who experienced flood-related property damage or losses.”
Via Twitter, Pillai previously hinted that the territorial government will have details on flood-relief support for those impacted when flooding subsides and the response scales back.
On May 8, the Yukon government activated the emergency coordination centre in response to the flood situation. An incident management team made up of representatives from multiple governments and emergency service providers was put together on May 12 to respond to ice jam flooding in Rock Creek and Henderson Corner. The team stood down on May 18 before being reactivated on May 24 to deal with freshet flooding throughout the Klondike Valley.
In an advisory, the emergency coordination centre indicated that “this situation is challenging our local resources.” The territory’s information officer told the News May 25 that Dawson City and the Klondike Valley have adequate supplies of response materials.
Unlike in 2021, a state of emergency was not declared due to flooding this season.
“The state of emergency was implemented [in 2021], because we wanted to compel the federal government to send resources to the territory,” Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn said during the briefing.
“In this case, we have all the resources we need.”
On May 23, Yukon government shut down a section of the Dempster Highway as well as a more than 100-kilometre stretch of the North Klondike Highway due to the flood situation. During the highway closure, the Klondike region was only accessible by air. The highway reopened at 6 p.m. on May 26 after crews repaired a washout at the Clear Creek bridge.
“The bridge is now safe to cross but it will require further repairs this summer,” said Katie Munroe, the Highways and Public Works director.
Officials could not provide cost estimates on damage and repairs to homes, properties and roads for 2023 at this time.
“As learned from the flooding events in 2021 and 2022, relief and recovery efforts are complex and can take considerable time. [The] Yukon government will support affected residents, now and in the weeks and months ahead,” reads a May 29 release.
“Details on when and how to apply for financial assistance and recovery support will be shared when available.”
A flood warning has been maintained for the Klondike River, according to a May 29 advisory. The river has crested but remains higher than flood thresholds for some areas of Rock Creek. Water levels are expected to go down, but rain in the forecast may bring the levels back up.
High-streamflow advisories continue for the Stewart River and lower Yukon River in the Dawson region, as per the latest updates.
Rainfall drove the Stewart River at Mayo to rise, although water levels are expected to crest and begin dropping.
Water levels on the lower Yukon River have been falling over the past 24 hours and are expected to continue declining over the next few days. Below-seasonal temperatures in the forecast will limit high elevation snowmelt.
Four flood-related advisories have ended since May 9.
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com