Kashechewan residents who were evacuated due to the threat of flooding have returned home after the First Nation lifted its state of emergency on Mar. 31.
Deputy Chief William Sutherland said since the Albany River has opened up for five miles and water levels have lowered, the threat of flooding no longer exists for the community this spring.
“We had five Elders go up on the chopper to look up the river,” he said. “And a decision was made based on the Elders that the river is safe and there’s no more water coming down.”
When Kashechewan declared a state of emergency on Mar. 25, it evacuated approximately 270 residents considered vulnerable, which included Elders, children and those with medical needs. A week later, they returned home on from Kapuskasing and Wawa Ont.
The evacuation and repatriation of the residents were coordinated by Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
EMO spokesman Greg Flood said they are continuing to assist the community in monitoring the river as well as any future evacuation efforts this spring.
Meanwhile, Fort Albany remains on standby in its state of emergency. Water levels by the community have stabilized thanks to subzero temperatures, but an ice jam about 12 miles in length on the nearby Stooping River could flood the community when warm weather returns.
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