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State of emergency declared in Southern Lakes to prepare for possible evacuation

The emergency state will be in effect for 90 days and can be cancelled any time
Flooding is seen encroaching on a cabin near Tagish on July 7. A state of emergency has been declared for Southern Lakes and Lake Laberge. (Stephanie Newsome/Yukon News)

A state of emergency has been issued for Southern Lakes and Lake Laberge in response to flooding.

It allows the Yukon government to issue evacuation orders if required, according a press release issued July 9. It will be in effect for 90 days and can be cancelled any time.

“The declaration of this state of emergency provides us the ability to provide effective and timely response to those individuals who need our assistance the most,” said Richard Mostyn, minister of Community Services, in a statement.

An evacuation order will direct residents at risk to leave the area immediately.

An order is not the same as an evacuation alert, which warns residents to prepare for potential evacuation. Southern Lakes residents at Lewes River Road, some of Army Beach Drive, South M’Clintock Road and Pearson Lane were already issued an evacuation alert on July 7.

An evacuation order may be issued to residents without a preceding alert, according to officials.

If residents are ordered to evacuate, government officials will communicate this with door-to-door contact in addition to online communication.

Canadian Red Cross and Emergency Social Services personnel will assist residents with evacuation. Accommodation and support will be provided.

Displaced residents will be directed to a reception centre. They will need to register with the centre in person or by phone. That information will be provided in the case of evacuation order.

More than 60 Yukon government staff, 100 members of the Canadian Armed Forces and flood specialists from Manitoba and Saskatchewan are currently working on flood mitigation in Southern Lakes.

(Gabrielle Plonka)