2013-05-11 at 13:19
Attiwapiskat First Nation faces flooding and sewage infrastructure issues.
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A day after Kashechewan flood victims headed home, the city is playing host to 122 more evacuees.
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Vulnerable residents of Attawapiskat First Nation, including the young, the sick and elderly, were flown into Thunder Bay late Friday night to escape rising water levels and sewage infrastructure failures in the James Bay-area community. Attawapiskat leaders declared a state of emergency earlier this month.
Mayor Keith Hobbs said it’s the right thing to do.
“The situation in Kashechewan has improved, so we’ve returned those evacuees yesterday and last night I understand that Attiwapiskat now is in a bit of trouble, so we’re going to take in about 120 evacuees today,” Hobbs said.
The city is well-prepared to handle the influx of visitors, he added.
“Yeah, it’s no problem,” Hobbs said. “We can handle up to 1,000 at this point with the hotel vacancies. So we’ll just play it by ear and see what happens. Other communities have stepped up to the plate, as we always do.
“We’re good at it. We’re getting a lot of experience at handling these emergencies.”
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Chief John Hay on Saturday in a release said the city has known for some time other Northern communities might be in peril.
“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.”
A command structure, led by Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, that 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, the release said.
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