Red Earth evacuees head far south for better air
- Tiffany Head | July 02, 2015
Community members from Red Earth First Nation with moderate or high risk respiratory problems, along with their families, were evacuated to Regina Monday night.
People either drove their private vehicles or rode in one of the 3 community school buses, 2 charter buses or the 3 fifteen-passenger vans that were travelling to the Capital city.
Hilliard Umperville travelled to Regina with his family in their private vehicle.
Umperville said they got into the city at 1:30 Tuesday morning; they got lost and somehow got the wrong directions. They had to phone around to ask where they were staying and eventually made it to their destination.
He and his family felt a bit disappointed when they got to Melfort and found that there was more smoke there than there was back home, but they continued on and hoped for the best.
Umperville says Regina was safer for them as his 10-year-old daughter has been asthmatic since birth.
“I feel safe for my daughter because she is asthmatic, so we had to take precautions. My daughter is the main priority for coming here,” said Umperville.
On the morning of the evacuation, his daughter was already congested from the smoke which made the hot air even stuffier.
Umperville said when they got to the Credit Union Eventplex, where they were being accommodated, and went to sleep in the cots provided for them. He said there were times he would wake up, hearing other kids crying. It was not an easy night.
Umperville has other family members who stayed behind in their community, which is located 225 kilometres northeast of Prince Albert.
When asked if he had felt any loneliness, he replied, “It feels surrounding, as long as I have the family members that are here and friends”.
Umperville heard they might be able to go home Thursday or Friday at the latest, for which they are hoping.
In the meantime, he and his family, along with other evacuees in his community, spent Canada Day in the capital city so the children were able to experience the holiday in another setting.
The First Nations University of Canada and University of Regina have been industrious in their efforts to offer entertainment for the evacuees in Regina while they are here.