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Simcoe County extends welcome to Northern Ontario evacuees amid flooding crisis

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Two of three expected flights carrying evacuees from a Northern Ontario First Nation along the Hudson Bay landed at the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport in Simcoe County on Tuesday.

The annual spring flooding in Kashechewan First Nation forced hundreds of people to find refuge in communities across the province, including Barrie.

"You guys are welcoming us with open arms, great support, excellent people we are working with, [I] can't say enough about that, and that's really what it's going to take, especially in this day and age with the climate crisis happening.

We are going to have to work together no matter what your background is, [or] where you come from; we're all at some point, I think, going to face that similar risk. So it's good to have this network set up now," said Joseph Sayers, Missanabie Cree Business Corporation general manager.

Many of the evacuees have health conditions and will receive care at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH).

"As the regional health centre, RVH, along with many community healthcare partners, is prepared to provide the evacuated members of Kashechewan with excellent healthcare. All preparations have been made in collaboration with ISN Maskwa," stated Tracey Fletcher, operations director of medicine with Innisfil Health and Wellness Centre.

The final flight carrying evacuees is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

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