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Kashechewan residents return from the land as flooding risk is downgraded


OTTAWA — Residents of a First Nation in northern Ontario plagued by annual spring flooding are being flown back to their community now that the threat of flooding has been downgraded.

About 1,200 people moved out of Kashechewan First Nation last month and relocated to camp sites to wait out the flood season on the land.

They had been concerned about exposure to COVID-19 if a flood forced a mass evacuation to nearby urban centres, which has happened every year since 2012.

Today, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry advised that the risk of flooding this year has been downgraded to moderate-to-low along the Albany River.

Miller says while this is good news, the federal government will remain ready to activate contingency plans if needed.

He says repatriation of Kashechewan residents who are out on the land began Wednesday, with Ottawa helping with air transportation back to the community to ensure the health and safety of all members.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2020

The Canadian Press

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