Hundreds of residents from Waterhen Lake First Nation have been evacuated from the community this afternoon.
The official call for a mandatory evacuation was made just after noon today, and residents from the community were directed to the Flying Dust First Nation gymnasium, where they will be then brought to the Henk Ruys Soccer Centre in Saskatoon, according to Flora Fiddler, Senior Director of Health and Social Development with Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC).
“Our staff from the tribal council, what they’re doing is taking the registration from all the people who are coming in from the buses or the vehicles driving privately from Waterhen,” she said. “They will be taken to Saskatoon until it’s safe for them to go back. Flying Dust gym is a hub right now.
A total of nine busses and drivers from the Northwest School Division were sent out to the community to bring residents in to town.
She said staff and volunteers from MLTC and others will be at the Flying Dust gym throughout the evening until all Waterhen residents have departed for Saskatoon.
Waterhen resident Dale Martell said this afternoon was a rush of activity for him and his family of seven.
“This is something new to a lot of us, we haven’t had to evacuate before,” Martell said. “We’ll just make do with what we’ve got. Packed our bags, and away we went, left our homes, and locked them up. With babies and kids it’s stressful.”
Scott Brooks, said he imagines community members are feeling a bit lost and helpless.
“Everyone has been well informed as they can be, considering everything happens at a spur of the moment,” he said. “Once everybody’s at a central location, we’ll all be able to relax a little bit. In my point of view, I’m not too worried about my house as long as my family is fine. I know the fire crews are working hard.”
Waterhen Chief Joanne Roy said amidst a stressful time for her community, she’s appreciative for the support which has been received thus far.
“All I can said is that I’m thankful for the team players that have come together to coordinate the evacuation,” Roy said. “We’ve always had the scenarios of what if, but the last two days have been a prime example of how our people come together. I’m thankful for all those agencies that have come together to support us through all this.”
The Meadow Lake and District Humane Society is also working to get pets out of the community as well.
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