Supporting Poplar River First Nation as they plan for disasters

Topics: Manitoba
March 01, 2019

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In 2017, Poplar River First Nation, in northeastern Manitoba, was forced to evacuate due to nearby wildfires. As part of its agreement with the federal government, the Canadian Red Cross responded by coordinating the evacuation of the community and providing support to evacuees, and those who stayed in the community, until it was safe to return.
 
“Red Cross was there just like that,” said Irma Hudson, Director of Operations for Poplar River. She noted that people from the community were happy with the support from the Red Cross. “Feedback from our evacuees was very good.”

With this positive experience fresh in their minds, the leadership of Poplar River was ready to work with the Red Cross Disaster Risk Reduction team to prepare for future disasters.

“The good experience made it easier to work on emergency planning,” said Hudson.

Over the course of the past year, the Red Cross team helped the leadership of Poplar River create an official emergency response plan.

“(We) didn’t have anything on paper, it was just in our heads,” said Joslin Bruce, Social Development Administrator for Poplar River First Nation. “They helped us put our plan on paper.”

The work included identifying assets in the community and leadership roles that could be used during a disaster response.

In February 2019, the emergency response plan was complete and a tabletop exercise was held to practice what was in the plan.

“Without the Red Cross, I think we would’ve been lost, still trying to put it on paper. They were very supportive,” said Hudson. “I commend the Red Cross on all their help. I would highly recommend them to anyone.”

Manitoba 2018-2019 Report Back to Communities