City of Cornwall prepares to receive more evacuees from Kashechewan

May 05, 2013

Kashechewan evacuees

Today, the City of Cornwall is expecting to receive approximately 160 additional Kashechewan residents today who have been temporarily  relocated from their Northern Ontario community due to flooding concerns. They will join the 187 evacuees that arrived in Cornwall on Sunday.

Six airplanes carrying evacuees are expected to arrive at Cornwall Regional Airport this afternoon, with the first flight scheduled for 12:30pm. A total of approximately 350 evacuees will be staying at the NAV CENTRE for the duration of their stay. It is unknown at this time exactly how long the Kashechewan residents will be staying in Cornwall.

Operations on the ground in Cornwall have been orderly with no major issues. Evacuees are acclimatizing to their new accommodations and a number of agencies are working with appointed Kashechewan liaison officers here in Cornwall.

Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) has organized a daily conference call where displaced Kashechewan elders in different communities can connect with their leadership and support agencies.

Canadian Red Cross has established a Central Registration Bureau hotline where Kashechewan residents can call in and locate community members. The number is 1-855-797-8875. 

Emergency Management Ontario is currently working with a number of northern Ontario communities that are facing flooding challenges as a result of rapid snow melt and rainfall.

The City of Cornwall will be entering into an agreement with Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada (AANDC) for full cost recovery for the event. AANDC has deployed a representative to Cornwall to assist with expenditure approvals and to work with the City and the Kashechewan residents.

At approximately 10 am on Sunday May 5, Mayor Bob Kilger declared a state of emergency for the City of Cornwall to serve as a host community for the evacuees. 

As per the City’s Emergency Plan and protocol, officials from a variety of City departments have gathered to coordinate the logistics of this situation, along with officials from Emergency Management Ontario. 

The action of declaring an emergency as a host community allows the municipality to swiftly and decisively react to needs relating to an emergency. It also ensures WSIB protection of volunteers, as well as establishing a framework for involving other (Provincial and Federal) levels of government.

The declaration of an emergency by a host community is a common practice and one specifically identified by Emergency Management Ontario in their document Checklist in Consideration of a Declaration of Emergency, which references the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

At this time there is no need for community donations or volunteers. However if it is determined that there is a need, those details will be provided as soon as possible.

Additional updates will be provided as new information becomes available. It is requested that media respect the privacy of the displaced residents and refrain from seeking interviews until such time as all evacuees have been established in their accommodations.

 

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