ABOVE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall offers the latest update on how many communities now face a state of emergency – and how the province is responding to those in need
SASKATOON – More Saskatchewan communities have declared a state of emergency as crews descend on regions in the province hit hard by flooding.
Premier Brad Wall said 53 communities are now under a state of emergency and nearly 500 people evacuated including upwards of 300 from the town of Gainsborough and 157 from a Melville hospital and care home.
“We’re concerned today about the people of this province, about folks in communities and farmers who need some help immediately who have lost so much,” said Wall.
The province is sending some wildfire fighting units to help rapid response teams and the Water Security Agency is relocating 40 pumps to southeastern Saskatchewan.
NEED TO KNOW: Important Saskatchewan flood contact numbers
Wall said the province will be there not only for the response but also the cleanup and teams will help with PDAP claims.
“We will use the resources of a healthy financial situation in Saskatchewan” to respond to help from communities said Wall, although he added cost is the least important thing at this time.
PDAP offices will remain open on Canada Day and more resources are being added to help with claims.
Numerous highways in eastern Saskatchewan, including the Trans Canada east of Regina, remain closed and there is no word on when those will reopen.
“We have some really significant highway issues going on,” said Wall, adding they will only know the extent of the damage to roadbeds once the water recedes.
Although he was reluctant to put an estimate on flood damage, Wall said it will top the $360-million damage sustained from the 2011 flood.
Wall also said he will tentatively travel to the hardest hit regions on Wednesday but only if he is not in the way of recovery efforts.