AFN National Chief says Long-term Solutions Needed Now for Chronic Flooding in First Nations

OTTAWA, April 27 /CNW/ - Following a community visit to Peguis First Nation yesterday, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo calls on the Federal Government and all political parties to make a clear commitment to address the ongoing flooding crises in First Nation communities across Canada, now and following the federal election.

"I sat with the leaders and the families and heard from them on a personal level what this flooding means. It means families uprooted and it means kids not being able to go to school. The worst part is this happens every year," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo following a community visit to Peguis First Nation in Manitoba yesterday.  "We are calling on all of levels of government to work with First Nations to develop and implement emergency response plans that work for, and in our communities.  This means action now for all of the communities impacted.  It also means proper investments in infrastructure and long-term, sustainable plans that address the root causes as well as the impact of flooding, including addressing health concerns and deteriorating infrastructure."

First Nations across western Canada have been affected.  As of yesterday, nearly 700 community members had been evacuated from Peguis First Nation and nearly 800 community members from Roseau River First Nation.

"This is a very difficult time, but our community is coming together stronger than ever," said Peguis First Nation Chief Glenn Hudson, adding that the community has been forced to evacuate six of the last 10 years, leaving families isolated from their communities and relatives.

"We extend our gratitude to the many volunteers and neighbouring First Nation communities for their support and assistance, particularly those who have travelled to help us with sandbag efforts."

Peguis and Rosseau River First Nations are considering other means by which to raise awareness and demand action of the emergency situation in their communities.

"The health and safety of First Nation  citizens and communities is one of our key priorities during the current federal election," said National Chief Atleo. "In order for our citizens to reach their fullest potential in this country, our communities must be guaranteed at the very least, the basic standards of safety and community wellness."

National Chief Atleo is convening a Town Hall discussion on First Nation election priorities this evening at the University of Toronto. The event will be webcast live at 7:00 p.m. (ET) at www.afn.ca.  For more information on this evening's Town Hall and AFN election priorities please visit www.afn.ca.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer (613) 241-6789, ext 382 or agaron@afn.ca 

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