April 27, 2014 8:55 pm
Updated: April 28, 2014 6:16 am

Peguis First Nation recovers after flooding


WATCH: (Apr. 27, 2014) An ice jam is causing waters to rise in Peguis First Nation. The community has banded together and sandbags are being laid as a precaution. Ashley Carter reports.

PEGUIS FIRST NATION – Flood waters are receding after the Fisher River overflowed early Saturday morning.

Fire crews and other Peguis First Nation community members banded together Sunday to help protect the nearly 400 homes at risk of flooding.

“I still need chest waders to get into my front door. The water just came so quick,” said William Sutherland, emergency co-ordinator of Peguis First Nation.

While flooding has receded, Tiger Dams and sandbags are still being put in place around homes as a precaution.

Evacuated home in Peguis First Nation are surrounded by water.

Ashley Carter/Global News

As the emergency co-ordinator and an evacuee in the 2009 flood, Sutherland knows how the 129 community members who were forced to leave this weekend are feeling.

“You’re surrounded by water, you’ve got water slowly coming in, threatening your home, and that places a lot of stress on people,” said Sutherland.

Several roads are impassable in the community, which would have stranded residents had they not been evacuated.

A car was abandoned after it couldn’t cross a road with flooded with over a foot of water.

Ashley Carter/Global News

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Evacuations are being co-ordinated by the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters to help those in the nearly 50 flood-damaged homes. Priority is going to residents with basements, the elderly and anyone with medical issues.

“We thought we were out if the woods with the weather the way it was, staying cool and a slow melt, but as soon as it warmed up, the water came. Everything opened up at once and it came pretty close to being one of the worst ones here,” said Dean Cochrane, Peguis First Nation fire chief and vice-president of the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters.

Rain in the forecast for Monday could make things even worse.

“Right now, if we get an inch of rain, we could be back in dire straits,” said Cochrane.

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