Fort Albany First Nation evacuees move to Niagara Falls, Ont.
April 26, 2023
By Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Fort Albany First Nation evacuees are moving to Niagara Falls, Ont.
Last week, members of the remote James Bay community started to be evacuated to Mississauga, Ont., due to the threat of flooding. Members who have already landed in southern Ontario city are packing up and heading further south to Niagara Falls after a number of incidents, say community leaders.
Deputy Chief Terry Metatawabin said during a Facebook live stream that an elder had ended up in the hospital, a family experienced the loss of a baby and two children were nearly lost in a local mall.
“In the past 24 hours, it’s been very difficult for us,” said Metatawabin. “We want to assure our evacuees that your safety matters very much to us right now.”
The Fort Albany First Nation leadership is working with Indigenous Service Canada and Xpera Risk Mitigation and Investigations’ emergency security management division, a company that they’ve worked with last year during evacuations.
“We asked Xpera how quick can you be activated, and the answer was very quick,” said Metatawabin.
Part of the plan with Xpera will include everyone being housed in the same hotel, with supports for identification and safety for members being while they are in Niagara Falls.
“This hotel can accommodate a very large number of evacuees,” said Metatawabin. “The 72 people who arrived today are now checked into the hotel.”
He also extended thanks to the liaisons and community members who helped evacuees during the incidents in Mississauga, and the mental health professionals who provided support.
There are 192 people who were evacuated to Mississauga that are being moved to Niagara Falls, 72 people with infants were evacuated to Niagara Falls on Monday, and 83 people with infants are going there today.
A total of 264 people have been evacuated so far, and there are about 400 people still left in the community, said Chief Elizabeth Kataquapit.
Metatawabin also assured community members that there will be mental health supports in place and on site in Niagara Falls for anyone who needs them.
“We are deploying a lot of mental health supports to Niagara Falls throughout the day, this evening, and tomorrow and the next day,” he said. “We want to reassure those family members who need that mental health support that we will be there everyday, and we will continue to grow the mental health systems.”
Amanda Rabski-McColl is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for TimminsToday.com.
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