As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase across Saskatchewan, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will help the province provide emergency humanitarian assistance.
Last week, the Department of National Defense and the Canadian Armed Forces responded to a request for assistance from a First Nations community in the far northeast of the province.
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Canadian Rangers of 4e The Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (4 CRPG) will be tasked with assisting the Denesuline First Nation of Hatchet Lake.
For 30 days, they will support the community in the production and distribution of real support materials such as food, firewood and medical packages, says the Department of National Defense.
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They will also help provide information from community, provincial and federal groups on individual health protection measures and multi-level risk reduction strategies.
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After 30 days, the need for assistance will be reassessed.
“Members of 4 CRPG will support the community of Hatchet Lake until the emergency has subsided and the province, as well as other federal and private sector resources are able to effectively support the community without intervention by FAC, ”a spokesperson for the Department of National Defense told Global News in an email.
Les Forces armées canadiennes aideront la communauté aux côtés des ressources provinciales et locales.
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It is not known how many soldiers will be deployed. More information will be available in the coming days, specifies the Ministry of National Defense.
Global News has contacted the Denesuline First Nation of Hatchet Lake on several occasions, but has not received a response by post.
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As of Sunday, there were 89 active cases of COVID-19 in the far northeast, where Hatchet Lake is located, according to the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Community,
Previous Ranger Deployments in Saskatchewan During COVID-19
The November mission marks the third time the Canadian Armed Forces have assisted Saskatchewan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 11, 4 CRPG sent three Saskatchewan Ranger patrols to Wollaston Lake, Île-à-la-Crosse and Fond-du-Lac, to assist local authorities in their relief efforts for the COVID-19.
“About 40 guards have started work following requests that have been submitted to the province’s emergency management office,” said a spokesperson for the Department of National Defense.
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On April 23, 4 CRPG also carried out similar activities in La Ronge with a dozen Canadian Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan government announced its plan to reopen, but the North would remain on lockdown. The province had limited travel to northern communities like La Loche, which was a COVID-19 hotspot.
During this time, the guards provided the following supports in the mentioned communities:
- Well-being checks;
- Assist in the transport and distribution of local supplies to community members;
- Assistance in staffing municipal / community command posts and emergency center
- Collecting data and statistics on the current state of the community in relation to COVID-19 relief efforts
- Support COVID-19 awareness programs in local communities
- Assistance in setting up remote clinics
- Loading, moving and unloading of humanitarian goods
- Act as runners to disseminate information for command centers
- Support community food security through hunting, gathering and fishing
- Help with elderly care for the isolated, such as harvesting, cutting and delivering firewood, transporting and filling water, and delivering medicines and groceries.
Operation LASER: Chronology of Canadian Forces Deployment to Homes for the Aged
Canadian Ranger patrols in northern Saskatchewan assisted communities until July 17.
As part of Operation LASER, Canadian Rangers also assisted Quebec and Ontario in caring for seniors and vulnerable people in long-term care homes. They have also helped the Haida Gwaii Archipelago of British Columbia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
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