Sudbury·Updated

Plans to evacuate Kashechewan for spring breakup underway

About 700 people are being flown out of the James Bay community of Kashechewan as a precaution ahead of spring breakup.

Elders among 700 people to be flown out as a precaution

First of the 700 evacuees arrive in Kapuskasing, Ont. 1:04

About 700 people are being flown out of the James Bay community of Kashechewan as a precaution ahead of spring breakup.

Officials with the northern Ontario First Nation — as well as the provincial government — declared a state of emergency and said the evacuation of the community was a precautionary measure.

Flooding in Kashechewan is an annual problem, with the waters of the Albany River frequently running over and through the community's dike.

People are commonly flown out of Kashechewan to hotel rooms in the south when spring flooding threatens the community. (Canadian Press)

Most of those being evacuated are elders.

A total of 222 arrived in Kapuskasing today, and another 223 are expected to arrive tomorrow. Each day, two Dash 8 aircraft will make three trips apiece.

Kapuskasing is prepared to take in as many as 450 people.

The town is already to home to some 400 people from Kashechewan who left the community two years ago when their mouldy homes were condemned.