Kashechewan Evacuees Arriving in Thunder Bay

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Aerial Image of Kashechewan - Supplied.
Aerial Image of Kashechewan - Supplied.

Aerial Image of Kashechewan - Supplied.
Aerial Image of Kashechewan – Supplied.

THUNDER BAY – WEATHER – Thunder Bay will have six hundred temporary residents over the coming days. The first of the people from Kashechewan First Nation have started arriving in Thunder Bay. The Chief and Council in Kashechewan re-declared a Full Emergency this morning after the Albany River started to rise.

Thunder Bay’s Emergency Operations Control Group (EOC) was notified Saturday afternoon that Kashechewan requested the entire community be evacuated due to flooding. Thunder Bay agreed to host up to 600 Stage 1 evacuees, the first of which arrived in the City via air at about 7:30PM EDT on Saturday.

Up to 160 evacuees were expected to arrive in Thunder Bay on Saturday, and the remainder of the Kashechewan residents will be arriving on Sunday.

Stage 1 evacuees include the elderly, children, and those with medical conditions.

“The command structure to deal with the evacuation has been put in place,” said Thunder Bay Fire Chief John Hay. “We’ve also engaged partner agencies to assist.”

Up to 2,000 Kasechewan First Nation members could be evacuated from the community due to the flooding, caused by high water levels on the Albany River. Emergency Management Ontario has engaged other communities in the province to assist by hosting evacuees as required.

Kashechewan had declared a state of emergency on Thursday due to potential flooding. However, conditions eased, and the James Bay-area community terminated the state of emergency on Friday.

“Conditions can change very, very quickly in these situations,” Hay said.

The evacuees are housed at the Victoria Inn.

Provincial Leaders are commenting on the situation.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath states, “”The people of Thunder Bay came together when flooding hit this community. You saw the worst of nature and the best of your neighbours. Once again the people of Thunder Bay are reaching out to help your fellow northerners as you welcome the 600 evacuees from flood-hit Kashechewan. Thanks for your northern hospitality.  New Democrats will fight hard to make sure that the flood victims of Kashechewan get all of the support they deserve from the Province.”