The Associated Press reports that about 1,000 residents of a remote northern Ontario Indian reservation have been evacuated after Indian leaders and medical officials say E. coli has been discovered in water samples.
The federal government is helping fly roughly 1,000 of the 1,900 residents of the Kashechewan First Nation reserve, off the western shores of James Bay, out of the area.
Indian leaders in the area have said its residents have been living in Third World conditions. Kashechewan’s 10-year-old water treatment plant, downstream from an existing sewage lagoon, has been beyond repair.
Roughly half of the residents of the reserve are suffering from a variety of skin infections, conditions that have been exacerbated by the high levels of chlorine being used to disinfect the water. For more than two years, residents have been under a boil-water restriction.
The Kashechewan community must ultimately decide whether the reserve is worth saving or if they should move to a different location. In the meantime, leaders are asking for help from federal and provincial governments.