900 First Nation's Residents Airlifted out of James Bay Due to Flooding
As rivers continue to swell after ice melt and rain, areas of the James Bay river have been perilously close to overflowing.
Some 900 people are being evacuated Sunday from a First Nation's community along the coast of James Bay due to fears of flooding.
The continued threat of flooding has prompted the leaders of Attawapiskat to broaden the evacuation of their community, located about 500 kilometres north of Timmins.
Some 300 of the area's most at-risk residents including the sick, elderly and infants have already been airlifted out of the region to Kapuskasing and Hearst.
Six hundred residents of an Indian community on the shores of James Bay in Canada were airlifted south Sunday because of possible flooding.
About 300 sick and elderly members of the Attawapiskat First Nation in province of Ontario had already been evacuated, Canwest News Service reported.
"The most vulnerable have been moved out and now we are moving the rest of those who need help," said Patrice Cloutier, a spokeswoman for Emergency Management Ontario. "Their safety is our first concern."
The risk of flooding in the Attawapiskat River was moderate to high because of ice jams caused by the breakup of the winter ice, Cloutier said. If flooding occurs, the military would rescue the few people remaining.
Over 400 people were evacuated from the Attawapiskat First Nation and arrived at their temporary lodging in three Thunder Bay hotels on Mother's Day. The decision to evacuate the community came due to elevated spring water levels and the danger of flooding. The Victoria Inn, Landmark Inn and Venture Inn Travelodge received temporary guests.
According to city fire department spokesman, Brian Berringer, it was a busy day for city staff but everything went smoothly getting the people from the airport and off buses and settled. He said the evacuees appeared to be handling the situation well. ''We concentrated on getting all 440 people fed and housed by 9 o'clock last night.""
The community of 1,400 on the coast of James Bay is the latest to be under threat of spring flooding and evacuees were also taken to Geraldton, Hearst, Timmins and Kapuskasing. About two weeks ago Thunder Bay offered refuge to 90 people from the Fort Albany First Nation.