Monday, September 15, 2014
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High risk of flooding forces hundreds from James Bay communities

Andrea Janus,

More than 1,000 residents of two First Nations communities along the James Bay coast are being airlifted to safety as the spring thaw leads to rising water levels and a threat of flooding.

Nearly 900 residents of the Kashechewan First Nation and nearly 300 residents of the Fort Albany First Nation were boarding flights Thursday. The two communities are under a state of emergency over a “high risk of flooding” of the Albany and Moose Rivers, as well as their tributaries.

According to Emergency Management Ontario, of the 890 residents of Kashechewan that are being evacuated:

  • 630 will go to a Nav Canada centre in Cornwall;

  • 120 will go to Fort Frances;

  • 100 will go to Greenstone;

  • 40 will go to Matachewan.

The approximately 280 residents from Fort Albany will be airlifted to Kapuskasing.

Due to the threat of flooding, the chiefs of Fort Albany and Kashechewan requested that their “vulnerable residents” be transported to safety, the provincial agency said.

Local and provincial officials are working with the federal Ministry of Natural Resources to co-ordinate the airlift and monitor water levels. Canadian Forces aircraft are also participating in the airlift.

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