Attawapiskat Residents to Start Returning Home
First Group Airlifted From Kapuskasing Tomorrow
Attawapiskat residents will start flying back to their community tomorrow. Local leaders, provincial and federal officials have determined that flood risks have diminished sufficiently to safely return residents to their homes.
The breakup of the ice covering the Attawapiskat River posed significant risks of flooding in the community, located 500 kilometres north of Timmins. As a result, local leaders decided to evacuate more than 1,200 residents.
Approximately 200 community members will return home from Kapuskasing on Friday. The rest of the evacuees will follow over the next few days. The plan is to have all Attawapiskat residents back home by mid-week.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is coordinating flight operations to ensure the quick and safe return of the evacuees. Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) officials are working with host communities, provincial ministries and federal departments, to ensure the well-being of the remaining Attawapiskat residents during their stay out of their community. Distances, weather conditions, the availability of aircraft and the capacity of host municipalities, are the main factors considered by provincial planners.
- 132 Attawapiskat residents are now in Hearst, 141 in Greenstone, 227 in Kapuskasing and approximately 440 in Thunder Bay.
- Approximately 125 were transported to Waterloo and 150 to Cochrane.
“We're deeply appreciative of the host community officials and volunteers who continue to extend their hospitality to their fellow Ontarians. The success of the evacuation is due to the commitment of everyone involved to put the safety of Attawapiskat residents ahead of any other consideration.”
“My ministry's aviation services branch is ensuring that the residents of Attawapiskat are brought back to their community as soon and safely as possible. I'd like to thank the host communities, community leaders, EMO, and our partners, who have worked tirelessly to keep the residents of Attawapiskat out of harm's way.”