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Neskantaga chief upset government won't evacuate vulnerable

Northern community has been under a boil-water advisory for more than 25 years and faces more water issues after a pump failure on Thursday.

NESKANTAGA FIRST NATION – The chief of Neskantaga First Nation says he’s appalled that the federal government has refused to evacuate 188 of his community’s most vulnerable people after their water pump and back-up pump failed.

Several community members have reported experiencing headaches and fevers and Chief Chris Moonias said telling his people to boil their water for a minute does not minimize the severity of the situation.

As a result, a state of emergency has been declared.

“This continued water crisis goes beyond boiling contaminated water—the bigger issue is that peoples’ basic fundamental human rights are being contravened and continually ignored. It’s unbelievable that Canada, one of the riches countries in the world, continues to condone this kind of injustice on our vulnerable—children and elders especially,” Moonias said in a release issued on Saturday.

The community has been under a boil-water advisory for more than a quarter of a century.

The pump breakdowns have resulted in unfiltered and contaminated water running through the community.

Some residents have no water at all.

The community, located 270 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, lists 50 females, 37 males, 72 children, elders and 17 infants among its most vulnerable population.

Neskantaga’s nursing station is only being opened for emergencies during the latest water crisis and its school will be closed until an undetermined future date.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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