Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Evacuees from the Kashechewan First Nation prepare to board a bus after arriving in the city on Sunday. Officials expect to host 600 evacuees by the end of the weekend.
THUNDER BAY -- Residents from the flood threatened Kashechewan First Nation continue to arrive in the city.
The James Bay area community has been working to temporarily relocate Stage 1 evacuees since a state of emergency was declared on Saturday due to the threat of flooding from the Albany River.
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue chief John Hay says the waters are still posing an imminent risk, leading to 13 flights scheduled throughout Sunday to bring the number of evacuees hosted in the city to 600.
“What we’re hearing from Kashechewan the water is still rising and they still need to come out. The (Ministry of Natural Resources) and the province are settling that right now and getting them on flights to Thunder Bay,” Hay said.
The flights were landing at the Thunder Bay International Airport beginning at 11:30 a.m. until the final scheduled flight at 10:45 p.m.
He added about 140 evacuees arrived in the city on Saturday evening via three flights.
Stage 1 evacuees include the elderly, children and those with medical conditions.
Community leaders contacted the province and asked for the entire community to be evacuated. Along with Thunder Bay, some residents have been evacuated to Greenstone.
Hay said Thunder Bay is equipped for the 600 evacuees coming in this weekend.
“We wouldn’t have said we would take them in unless we had places to put them,” Hay said.
The Canadian Red Cross is providing assistance to those displaced from the community, with volunteers registering evacuees and meeting personal needs.
The community previously declared a state of emergency on Thursday before it was called off the following day due to apparent receding of the Albany River. The state of emergency was reinstated Saturday, when the threat re-escalated.
Thunder Bay hosted evacuees from Kashechewan last year due to similar flooding events.