Two First Nations in northern Ontario are dealing with a crisis and evacuating residents as ice flows jam up the Albany River, causing it to break its banks and flood the communities.
Kashechewan and Fort Albany, two reserves on opposite sides of the river, declared states of emergency on Saturday. With the help of the federal Ministry of Natural Resources and Emergency Management Ontario, the plan on Sunday was to evacuate some 300 residents and take them to the nearby towns of Kapuskasing and Wawa. As the Ottawa Citizen reports, about 50 of the communities “most vulnerable” residents—children and the elderly—were already flown out Saturday on flights chartered by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Several thousand people live in the area, but it’s still too early to know how many of them will be forced to leave. That depends on how bad the flooding gets.