Nunavut’s chief public health officer defends response to Iqaluit water crisis

'We have to be very careful when we put out messages that affect the entire community to this degree,' says Dr. Michael Patterson

Nunavut’s chief public health officer as well as the capital city’s mayor are defending their timeliness in reacting to reports of fuel in Iqaluit’s drinking water before the contamination was confirmed. Iqaluit and its 8,200 residents have been under a local state of emergency since Oct. 12, when fuel was first suspected in the city’s...

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City of Iqaluit distributing water jugs

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell, right, helps distribute jugs of water at the Arctic Winter Games Arena parking lot on Thursday, following the arrival of several thousand litres of of drinkable water on an afternoon flight. There is a second water distribution centre set up at the Arnaitok Arena parking lot. Both centres are open from 3:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Residents are able to take four litres per household. Residents were told earlier in the week to not drink tap water because of potential fuel contamination. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)