Home / News / Whitehorse Daily Star: YG urges Mayo evacuees to register for support services

Whitehorse Daily Star: YG urges Mayo evacuees to register for support services

Aug 22, 2023Aug 22, 2023

The Yukon government has created a range of support services for the Mayo residents who had to flee their central Yukon village over the weekend.

By Cassidy Bronson on August 7, 2023

The Yukon government has created a range of support services for the Mayo residents who had to flee their central Yukon village over the weekend.

On Sunday, the Department of Health and Social Services, via facebook, announced the forms of assistance available.

The post read, “Emergency Support Service (ESS) is ready to accept Yukoners at the Canada Games Centre (CGC) who have evacuated from Mayo. The reception centre and group lodging is located at the CGC in Whitehorse.

“If you have evacuated, please phone 867-332-4597 to speak with an ESS team member about support available to you.”

At a press conference this morning in Whitehorse, Health and Social Servces’ Dale Cheeseman, said 124 Yukoners have been registered from the Mayo evacuation and three have been registered from Old Crow amidst the heavy smoke.

Cheeseman said ESS is providing support for the evacuees, such as accommodation, food, groceries and clothing if needed, and some incidental expenses.

Representatives from ESS were at work in the CGC until late Sunday evening helping evacuees get situated.

“We were there till just after midnight last night registering people and finding them a place to stay.”

Cheeseman said generally between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the day ESS members will be at the CGC for roughly the entire week providing support, talking to people, and seeing what the ESS can do for them.

The ESS phone number is also a 24-hour line, and Cheeseman encouraged those affected to either call or visit the CGC reception in person.

“We’re currently using six hotels in town. We also had the opportunity to have three rooms at Normandy (on Range Road) that were set up for us last night,” he said.

The Humane Society Yukon is working with the ESS to provide housing for pets such as cats and dogs for those who are affected.

“Luckily enough, we didn’t have to use their supports last night. We do have some motels that take pets, and a lot of people who have read the alert ahead of time and planned places for their pets. But we do have that support as well,” Cheeseman said.

Group lodging has been set up in the CGC in the Flexi hall that the city has closed for ESS in the case it is needed.

“We’ve also partnered with the Canadian Red Cross; we’ll have a couple of teams from the Red Cross flying into Whitehorse tonight and tomorrow,” Cheeseman said.

“We’re utilizing them to actually manage the group lodging of the Canada Game Centre.

“So should people need to stay there and we have to use it, Red Cross will actually manage that site for us.

We will still provide the emergency support services for everybody who’s registered with us and Red Cross will support that.”

Greg Blackjack, the director of the Emergency Measures Organization, said that entity has been working closely with the Wildland Fire Management team and ESS to provide supports to responders and communities.

“As you know, yesterday, an evacuation order was issued at 1300 hours (1 p.m.) for the village of Mayo due to the proximity of the Talbot Creek Fire.

“We’re co-ordinating with municipal and First Nation governments to help provide support such as arranging transportation for the community and working with emergency support services to set up accommodations and lodging for for those people who are displaced,” he said.

“We provide that by assisting Dale’s team in securing hotel rooms and providing any other supports that are needed, such as working with Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.”

Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee thanked the ESS for quickly mobilizing to set up the reception, and the group lodging in the CGC.

“Thank you to everyone for doing this so quickly and rallying for the efficient setup and supporting our fellow Yukoners at this time,” she said at the news conference.

McPhee also said officials expect many more people to register.

“We’re encouraging them to know about the number and or go in person to the Canada Games Centre,” she said.

“If they have not come to Whitehorse, we are asking them to register themselves by the number so we can have an accurate number of people that we are trying to assist but also we know that people are safe and out of the community.

“If you call that number, you’ll be connected with the ESS team member and will learn about the support that are available to help you and answer any questions or walk you through a process or how you might receive financial support, etc.

Cassidy BronsonAugust 7, 2023