“It’s been three weeks since Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency. And in those three weeks, not a single federal or provincial official has even bothered to visit the community.”
These are the words of Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay, speaking in the House of Commons on November 21.
The emergency was declared due to a housing crisis in the community that has left hundreds living in condemned buildings or without proper access to electricity and clean water.
According to an APTN News report, the Canadian Red Cross has agreed to step in to provide short-term aid following a meeting with the chief of the community, the grand chief of Mushkegowuk Council and Angus. According to Angus, Ontario and Aboriginal Affairs officials refused an invite to participate in the meeting.
“With the Red Cross stepping in now, we hope to start coordinating a short-term response, while the larger, medium-to-long-term response will take place once we bring the other parties (Ottawa and Ontario) to the table,” said Angus.
Angus also raised awareness this week of the situation by releasing a video that chronicles the horrendous living conditions many of Attawapiskat’s residents must endure.
Check out the video and keep up to date on new developments as the relief effort unfolds through The Nation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nationnewsmagazine..