ATTAWAPISKAT, Ontario -- Six hundred residents of an Indian community on the shores of James Bay in Canada were airlifted south Sunday because of possible flooding.
About 300 sick and elderly members of the Attawapiskat First Nation in province of Ontario had already been evacuated, Canwest News Service reported.
"The most vulnerable have been moved out and now we are moving the rest of those who need help," said Patrice Cloutier, a spokeswoman for Emergency Management Ontario. "Their safety is our first concern."
The risk of flooding in the Attawapiskat River was moderate to high because of ice jams caused by the breakup of the winter ice, Cloutier said. If flooding occurs, the military would rescue the few people remaining.
"There is a real risk because of the distances," he said. "Once it starts to flood it could be too late. It could put the landing strip out of commission."
Those evacuated Sunday were quartered in hotels and motels in Thunder Bay and Greenstone, hundreds of miles southwest of their home.
Copyright © 2008, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.