THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay has now welcomed flood evacuees from Attawapiskat First Nation. Between the hours of 10:00EDT, Friday, May 10 and 12:00EDT, today, three flights bringing 122 Stage 1 Evacuees from the First Nation community to Thunder Bay arrived.
Along with sewage infrastructure issues, river levels in Attawapiskat, located near the James Bay, have forced the community to evacuate its vulnerable population.
Stage 1 vulnerable residents include elders, young children and their families and those with medical and health concerns.
“Thunder Bay indicated to Emergency Management Ontario earlier this week, that we could additional Stage 1 evacuees should the need arise,” said Fire Chief John Hay. “Friday night we got that call.”
“Thunder Bay is pleased to answer the call from our neighbours in their time of need,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “Our Emergency Operations Control Group was already in place with the Kashechewan evacuation and we have the capacity to host these folks and extend our humanitarian hand.”
Thunder Bay was hosting evacuated members of Kashechewan First Nation until yesterday when the community’s leadership indicated it was safe to return home. Thunder Bay repatriated all Kashechewan residents by 8 pm Friday.
Attawapiskat evacuees are being hosted at the Valhalla Inn.
A command structure, led by Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, includes the City of Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay Police, Superior North EMS, tbaytel, Canadian Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Northwest Community Care Access Centre, the District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board and Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, has been set up to meet and make necessary arrangements. The team is working directly with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and will deal with evacuee requirements as they emerge.