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Nunavut is prepared for the Y2K bug

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

IQALUIT — A special team of Nunavut government workers will be on guard 24 hours a day from Dec. 28 – Jan. 4 should a major disaster or even a minor mishap mark beginning of the new millennium.

The potential effects of the computer glitch known as the “Y2K” bug should become apparent at midnight Jan.1. The Nunavut government, teamed with hamlets and various private corporations across Nunavut, have made preparations should Y2K -bug problems begin to spiral.

Community Government Minister Jack Anawak is responsible for Y2K readiness. His department has set up a Y2K headquarters in Iqaluit to receive information from the communities as it becomes available.

Hamlets are expected to report to headquarters twice a day. Nunavut headquarters will in turn report to Ottawa twice a day.

Anawak said he doesn’t anticipate any major catastrophes, but he said the government must be prepared to handle whatever transpires.

“We don’t expect any major problems, but we’ll be prepared. Because we live in the North, we’re always ready for some kind of emergency. It’s not like down south,” Anawak said.

Anawak did not know how much the preparations will cost, but he said it was money well-spent.

Representatives from each Nunavut government department will staff the headquarters. Anawak will return to Iqaluit on Dec. 29 to take part in preparations.

The Canadian Forces Northern Area Headquarters will also be open 24 hours a day starting Dec. 31 as part of “Operation Abacus.” The headquarters will remain open round the clock until any problems have subsided, according to a press release from the Department of National Defence.

The Canadian Forces are also halting any non-essential national and international jobs to be ready for any problems. Canadian Forces personnel may be deployed across Canada as needed.

Teams of military personnel will be on hand at Emergency Measures Organizations at each of the three territorial capitals.

The Nunavut government is reporting that all essential services including the power company, phone company, grocery stores and fire and health services are ready.

John Graham,the manager of the Iqaluit airport, says all systems at the airport have been tested, and back-up power supplies are available.

If emergencies to arise, Anawak said residents should contact their local hamlet first. Anawak said some residents may experience problems with their microwaves or personal computers, but that would not constitute an emergency.

Residents can also call the 24-hour emergency notification line at 1-800-693-1666 in case of emergency.

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