Nunavut politicians react to devastating Iqaluit fire
“Our hearts go out”
Speaking Feb. 27 in the Nunavut legislature hours after the blaze that destroyed a 22-unit rowhouse block in downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak thanked the many firefighters who fought the fire for hours despite -50 C windchills.
“We sincerely appreciate the tremendous commitment,” Aariak said.
“Our hearts go out” to all those who lost their homes and suffered losses in the fire was Aariak’s message, delivered to the assembly in a minister’s statement.
Nunavut Arctic College will take steps to meet the needs of its students, who comprised the majority of tenants in the now-destroyed complex.
“We will do everything to ensure that they are comfortable,” Aariak, also Nunavut’s education minister, told Nunatsiaq News.
Asked if the fire points to a lack of infrastructure in Iqaluit to deal with that level of a fire, Aariak said there’s a lack of infrastructure, not just in Nunavut’s capital city, but throughout the territory.
“It’s tough in all the communities,” Aariak said, promising to continue raising Nunavut’s need for improved basic infrastructure such as fire equipment.
A new Nunavut emergency communication protocol may also result from events of the past 24 hours, after officials and responders evaluate the flow of information around the disastrous fire, Lorne Kusugak, Nunavut’s minister of Community and Government Services, said in response to questioning from Tagak Curley, MLA for Rankin North.
In his question’s to Kusugak, Curley pointed out discrepancies in the information handed out to media during the early hours of the fire and afterwards.
From Ottawa, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq said she was “saddened by news of this tragic fire in Iqaluit.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are affected,” Aglukkaq said in a statement. “Nunavummiut are known for our strength and resilience. In this tragic time, let us come together as a community to pray with each other and support one another.”