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Airlift of Cree community in Ontario ordered

The Ontario government declared a state of emergency on the Kashechewan First Nation, a Cree community whose water supply has been contaminated by E. coli, a dangerous bacteria.

The province ordered an airlift of over 1,000 residents of the remote reserve in northern Ontario. The first 450 people, including the elderly, the young and those suffering from severe skin problems, have already been removed. About 1,900 people total live on the reserve.

The decision came amid mounting criticism over the Canadian government's role in the crisis. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the government has been "missing in action" and knew about water problems on the reserve for two years yet did nothing about the situation.

Tribal leaders have said their entire community needs to be relocated. A doctor who treats patients there said the infrastructure is beyond repair.

Kashechewan isn't the only Native community facing water woes. More than 100 First Nations are under boil water advisories due to unsafe water supplies.

Get the Story:
Ottawa 'missing in action' over reserve's bad water: McGuinty (CBC 10/26)
Tainted Water Forces Airlift from Canadian Village (Reuters 10/27)
Water troubles empty reserve (CP 10/27)
Canada Evacuates Indian Reserve Over Contaminated Water Supply (The Washington Post 10/27)
Premier blasts federal inaction (CP 10/27)
Airlifts, blaming begin over native E. coli (The National Post 10/27)
Tempers flare with Ottawa as airlift of natives begins (The Daily Globe and Mail 10/27)

Related Stories:
Conditions on First Nation called Third World (10/25)
First Nations finally invited to top-level meeting (10/24)