After Iqaluit fire, Greenland offers humanitarian aid to Nunavut

The move comes after Nunavut donated $25,000 in the wake of a deadly tsunami in Greenland in 2017.

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Iqaluit firefighters battle a fire inside the Northmart building on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 8. (Sarah Rogers / Nunatsiaq News)

The Greenland government will give about $150,000 as a humanitarian contribution to the Government of Nunavut.

Greenland’s finance and tax committee decided to offer the money in response to the Nov. 8 fire at Iqaluit’s Northmart store, the Sermitsiaq AG newspaper reported yesterday.

Greenland’s finance minister, Vittus Qujaukitsoq, said that the move followed the Government of Nunavut’s donation of $25,000 after the tidal wave of June 2017 that destroyed 11 houses and left four people missing, two seriously injured and another seven slightly injured in the village of Nuugaatsiaq.

“We were helped by Nunavut — it is natural that we now can repay and donate this amount to Nunavut,” Qujaukitsoq said in Sermitsiaq.

His comments were followed up by a news release received by Nunatsiaq News that confirmed the donation will be transferred to the GN.

The statement says that the Naalakkersuisut, as the Greenland government is called, contacted Nunavut’s government shortly after the fire “in order to clarify how Greenland could provide help and support after the incident.”

In Greenland, the state-owned Pilersuisoq runs retail stores in its 68 smaller communities, which are not served by the independently owned Pisiffik or Brugsen supermarket chains.

However, Northmart is owed by the North West Co., as are smaller Northern stores across the territory.

Some in Iqaluit, after learning about the gesture from Greenland, questioned whether the money would have been better sent to organizations in Iqaluit dedicated to helping those suffering from food insecurity.