Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says 25 families from Kashechewan First Nation will be in Thunder Bay until July as their houses are renovated from flood damage.
THUNDER BAY -- The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board hopes a clothing drive will help make the more than 600 evacuees from Kashechewan First Nation feel more comfortable.
While some evacuees might return home as early as next week, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said 25 families will be in Thunder Bay until at least July.
The flooding in the remote community caused sewage backup in the 25 homes and those families will have to stay in the city until renovations are completed.
"It's always difficult to be far away from home and just that sense of being displaced is very difficult," said Fiddler, adding the passing of Kashechewan resident Peter Wesley last week has added to the trauma of the evacuation.
Wesley, who is believed to be in his late 30s, passed away of an apparent heart attack on May 19. He also had muscular dystrophy.
To help the evacuees, the city's Catholic school board has started a campaign for clothing, particularly children's clothing, books and writing utensils for schoolwork.
"It's so great to see the community responding," said Fiddler.
"I commend them for all their efforts to make the community members of Kashechewan a bit more comfortable while they're here in Thunder Bay."
The board's Aboriginal outreach worker Janine Landry said they want to do whatever they can to help make the evacuees stay in the city a little easier.
"They've left everything behind and they've come with an undetermined amount of time being here," she said.
"They were only allowed to bring small bags with them when they came."
Donations can be dropped off at any local Catholic school or at the NAN office.