Flooding caused more than $1 million in damage to Manitoba community

One Manitoba community is facing more than $1 million in damage due to flooding, and it’s likely that number will continue to grow.

Chris Ewen, mayor of the Rural Municipality of Ritchot, said the community has already seen a significant amount of damage; however, there is still more that has yet to be assessed.

“The water is still significantly high and we have a lot of infrastructure under there,” he said in an interview on Saturday.

Ewen said the damage includes eroded roads, as well as agricultural complications.

“There’s a lot of damage, not just municipally -- it is agriculturally, it is residentially, it is provincially,” the mayor said.

EVACUEES RETURNING

Over the course of this year’s flood period, 232 evacuation notices were issued in the RM, with residents in 107 of these homes choosing to evacuate.

Now, Ritchot is in the process of bringing these families back home.

“Over the weekend, we’ll see about 10 to 15 homes get reoccupied. That’s great to see some families returning, getting out of those hotels or friends’ and families’ houses,” Ewen said.

The mayor added the reason some residents are able to return home is because the water levels are slowly going down.

“It’s nice to see the water coming down. It’s still a long way to go, another two-three weeks maybe, but at least we’re getting some families back into their homes,” he said.

Ewen said that people in the community are excited to have some relief, adding that even those who aren’t yet returning home feel better knowing the water isn’t getting any higher.

He said that before residents can return home, the municipality needs to do its due diligence and ensure that roads and driveways are safe.

EMERGENCY CENTRE GOES VIRTUAL

Due to decreased demand for evacuations, the community no longer needs a 24-hour, serviced operation centre.

“People can still call the online centre. They can still check in and see what’s going on with the flood updates. We have our online website as well,” Ewen said.

The mayor said the community is happy to be transitioning from dealing with rising water levels to now dealing with bringing people back home and working on repairs.

“Everybody was very generous with their time during the flood fight, and now it’s getting them back, and hoping they’re just as generous to help us all clean up our community, because people need it more than ever right now,” he said.

Those who want to help the RM of Ritchot with the flood clean-up efforts can contact the community to volunteer. 

- With files from CTV’s Danny Halmarson.