#KashechewanFirstNation, #Kapuskasing, #relocation, #LeoFriday, #Flood-proneCommunity
A state of emergency had been declared in Kashechewan First Nation over concerns about flooding and hundreds of residents are being moved to the northern Ontario town of Kapuskasing, media reports said.
Situated on the Albany River's flood plain, Kashechewan First Nation is susceptible to flooding every spring, CBCNews reports said.
According to estimates nearly 450 to 500 people were affected and evacuation of Kashechewan First Nation located along the James Bay began Sunday and is being continued on Monday.
An additional 100 evacuees will be moved to the community of Smooth Rock Falls and search for additional towns is underway.
The town of Kapuskasing wrote in a news release Monday morning that evacuation was a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of all residents adding that the community was not immediately threatened.
Kapuskasing greeted over 300 evacuees, from Kashechewan First Nations, who landed from a total of eight planes on Sunday on April 16 and were greeted by Kapuskasing, with another six planes expected to land Monday.
The release said that Kapuskasing will try to ensure the safety of most vulnerable residents as evacuation flights continue to arrive throughout the week.
Kapuskasing will provide for the lodging, meals and emergency supplies for the evacuees.
For more than a decade the town of Kapuskasing had received evacuees from Kashechewan every spring.
Brandon Spence, Kashechewan's fire chief and emergency coordinator said the annual interruptions were becoming wearisome on some community members.
Nearly 200 evacuees from Kashechewan had been living in Kapuskasing for years, waiting for new homes to be built in the Kashechewan First Nation so that they could go back home.
Each annual evacuation cost between $15 million and 20 million and relocation would cost up to $1B.
The evacuation had begun just weeks after signing of a new between the First Nation and federal and provincial governments to consider for options to relocate the flood-prone community to higher ground.
But there had not been any financial commitment.
Leo Friday, Kashechewan Chief said moving the community 20 kilometres up the Albany River could cost between $500 million and $1 billion.
During a referendum held in 2016, 89 percent of the First Nation voted in favour of relocation.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of Kashechewan First Nation. Image credit: Wikipedia