As of Monday, May 2, a total of 130 evacuation notices have been issued to residents by the RM of Ritchot, and that number is climbing daily as the river continues its steady rise. With the Red River crest expected to be about a week away, the municipality’s flood control efforts have kicked into high gear.
“I think about a third of them have evacuated,” says Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen, who points out that evacuation of households in flood zones is not mandatory. “It’s up to them whether they want to leave or not. »
If residents choose to stay in their homes, the MR provides a checklist of items they should stockpile if their route or entrance becomes impassable – items such as fuel, food and drinking water.
The municipality has also stored 300,000 sandbags for the use of owners, as well as a sand station located at the Saint-Adolphe arena. Many sandbag dikes have already been erected in driveways and around homes in anticipation of what is yet to come.
As in the past, the municipality and province are initially offering subsidized hotel stays to those who choose to move until the floodwaters recede. For the first 72 hours after a household is evacuated, they are accommodated in hotels around Winnipeg at municipal expense. They are also asked to keep their meal receipts in anticipation of any disaster financial assistance programs that may be announced at a later date.
After 72 hours, displaced residents are transferred to provincial emergency social services for continued assistance.
Christa Ferreira and her husband Jones have lived along the banks of the Red River since 2001. Once they received their evacuation notice, the Ferreiras chose to evacuate their property, located along the stretch of highway between St. Adolphe and A Maze in Corn.
It’s not their first rodeo. The couple also moved in 2009 and then again in 2011.
“The house is two feet above the 1997 flood stage,” Ferreira says, “but the driveway is flooded, making it unsafe. My husband Jones works in the city, and although I mostly work from home, it is not recommended to stay home when the house is surrounded by water.
Ferreira says they were really impressed with the quick action and support from RM’s staff. However, this still does not completely alleviate the anguish they feel about having to give up their property for an unknown length of time.
“My husband wanted to stay until the last minute because we have just started our seedlings for the summer and they might not survive if we can’t take care of them for too long,” says Ferreira.
They had also hoped for more snow to melt before leaving, which would have allowed them to move outdoor gear to higher ground. Alas, they decided to leave knowing that delaying even just one more night could mean having to navigate two feet of water, as was the case when they delayed their evacuation in 2009.
Angie Masse is co-owner of A Maze in Corn, located four miles north of St. Adolphe along Highway 200. At the time of this writing, the couple were working around the clock to move anything portable to higher ground.
“We will officially have to be evacuated as soon as the bridge sinks, because that’s our last way out,” Masse said. “Unfortunately, we have a lot to do and the race is on. »
Masse says the farm equipment they rely on for their business would have been high enough had the initial forecasts been accurate. These forecasts, which called for flooding of similar proportions to those of 2011, preceded recent heavy rainfall throughout April.
Now the forecast has now been updated to 2009 or higher levels.
“They say we will most likely be evacuated for three to four weeks,” Masse says. ” [I’m] I don’t know where we’re going at this point, but all of our animals have been moved and now it’s just us and the other items in question. As for Ferreira, she settles into a new routine in their small hotel room and creates a makeshift desk with her laptop on a small corner table. Its online product import business will not operate at full capacity for some time until there is an address to which its products can be shipped.
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