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Evacuation Efforts Not Hampered by Brief Storm

July 21, 2011 – Wednesday’s brief windstorm that passed over the Confederation College Hangar at the Airport, as hundreds of evacuees gathered awaiting transportation to host communities, did not hamper Thunder Bay’s evacuation efforts.

On Wednesday, about 1,000 people from northern communities were moved through Thunder Bay to other host communities across Ontario and more than 800 are expected today.

“Confederation College made it possible for Thunder Bay to be a transportation hub by opening the doors to its Aviation Centre of Excellence,” said Chief John Hay, Fire Rescue. “We can’t thank them enough.”

The 280 residents of Sandy Lake First Nation, who are remaining in Thunder Bay for the duration of the evacuation, have settled in comfortably and expressed appreciation to the people of Thunder Bay for their support.

“It’s been good so far – the support has been there,” said Joe Kakegamic, a Band Councillor and community liaison to Thunder Bay’s Emergency Operations Control Group. “Under the circumstances our people are handling it well. Their biggest concern is where their family members are.”

The North West Local Health Integration Network has been coordinating health services. Today, Ontario’s Emergency Medical Assistance Team is arriving from Toronto including a physician, three nurses and two paramedics. The team will provide additional medical support where required.

Mayor Keith Hobbs was interviewed live this morning on CTV’s Canada AM about Thunder Bay’s role as an evacuation centre and transportation hub and the fact that the whole province is getting involved now.

The local Emergency Operations Control Group responding to the evacuations includes the City of Thunder Bay, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Police, Fire Rescue, District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board, Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Superior North EMS and Canadian Red Cross.

For public inquiries related to the evacuation, call 211, the community information and referral line.

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Contact:    Chief John Hay, Fire Rescue, 625-2101
                 Dennis Brescacin, Community Emergency Management Coordinator, Fire Rescue, 625-2726