Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated is allotting $1.25 million of its $22.5 million in federal COVID-19 response funds to ensure Nunavut communities have clean water for hand-washing.
NTI is working alongside the Nunavut Association of Municipalities on this initiative. The territory’s municipalities can use the money in April to extend water delivery hours, hire new water truck drivers or pay overtime for existing drivers or even order parts for water trucks.
Many Inuit have become accustomed to conserving water due to living in overcrowded houses, having to share water and sewage tanks among multiple residences or going without services during blizzards, NTI noted in a Thursday news release. However, the land claims organization is encouraging Nunavummiut to engage in more frequent hand-washing and to clean hard surfaces more often during the pandemic.
“Now is the time to be liberal with our water usage,” the news release states.
“Water is a basic human right,” NTI President Aluki Kotierk said. “We are taking this emergency measure to ensure Inuit are able to wash their hands frequently to prevent COVID-19.”
On March 25, the federal government made $45 million available to Inuit as part of a greater $305-million national Indigenous Community Support Fund. NTI’s share of that $45 million to support Inuit responses to the coronavirus is 50 per cent, or $22.5 million.
NTI’s board divided the funding as follows: $6.1 million to the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, $6 million to NTI, $4.3 million to the Kivalliq Inuit Association, $3.6 million to the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and $2.5 million to Urban Inuit.