Kash Evacuees return to Kapuskasing
A file photo from 2014 shows evacuees from Kashechewan disembarking from a Hercules aircraft at the Kapuskasing airport due to the threat of the Albany River flooding.
Kapuskasing greeted over 300 evacuees from Kashechewan First Nations on April 16 as the first set of flights landed during the precautionary evacuation of the northern community.
Sunday marked the first day in a week-long process that will see over 500 people evacuated to Kapuskasing.
“We received 317 evacuees on Sunday, spread across eight different flights,” said Town of Kapuskasing Chief Administrative Officer Guylain Baril. “ We're expecting another three flights coming to Kap on Monday, so that's roughly another 100 people. We're also getting three flights of people going to Smooth Rock, and then on Tuesday we'll be receiving two or three final flights to bring us very close to 500 people living in Kap.”
The evacuation process will see these residents remain in Kapuskasing and receive lodging at local motels, while meals and emergency supplies will be provided to the evacuees at the Civic Centre Auditorium. The remainder of people from Kash will be directed to other host communities.
According to Baril, the evacuation is precautionary due to the anticipation of high waters in the community and the ineffectiveness of the dyke system surrounding the community to ice flows in order to guarantee the safety of its residents.
“The water levels have not yet reached critical levels, so we'll have to see over the next week or two how severe the flood conditions are, and from that point on the determination of long the people will be here for will be made.”
This marks the 11 year that Kapuskasing has been a host community.
“It is a long-term relationship that we have with Kashechewan,” Baril said. “We recognize them, and they know us, and we're quite happy to have them live with us for a few weeks, and we'll try and make their stay as enjoyable as possible. We also recognize that this puts a lot of pressure on the community of Kapuskasing and we continue to do everything we can to minimize the impacts on our long term residents and we'd like to thank them for their support and patience as we go through this process.”