April 16, 2018 6:17 pm
Updated: April 18, 2018 2:39 pm

Siksika Nation under state of local emergency due to flooding

WATCH: Overland flooding on the Siksika First Nation is being called a crisis. Over half the roads are impassable and some residents are stranded. Jill Croteau reports.


Siksika Nation declared a state of local emergency on Monday afternoon due to overland flooding as a result of the rapidly melting snow.

“Siksika Nation Chief and Council has identified that there is a risk to people, property and infrastructure,” a news release from the nation said, “and has mandated specific departments and services to plan and execute an emergency response plan to protect residential homes and commercial/industrial structures.”

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The nation said several roads are impassable due to washouts, making it difficult for emergency vehicles and school buses to access some areas.

At an emergency meeting Tuesday, Chief Joseph Weasel Child said 30 homes are affected by flooding and up to 300 kilometres of the 500 kilometres of road on Siksika land are under water.

READ MORE: Calgary has crushed the monthly snowfall average 4 of the past 5 months

He said the seven-day local state of emergency plan is in place and they will do “whatever it takes” to ensure safety.

Weasel Child said “the crisis is now” and is concerned about river flooding once the snowpack melts.

“This is the worst I have seen in my life on the nation,” he said. “Not comparing it to a flood but talking about overland flooding.”

He said the snow amounts are largest seen since recordings began in the 1940s.

An Alberta Emergency Alert was also issued for the nation at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, advising multiple roads are being closed and that people should “use extreme caution on all roads as some areas may not be marked as closed yet.”

Nation member Adrian Stimson was in Toronto Friday night when he was told the basement in his family home was flooded.

“[My family] saw a wave of water come down and pretty well lakes around our house and water started pouring into the basement,” Stimson said.

“We managed to get [the fire department] to come down and they were able to start pumping out the basement. We got a few more pumps and managed to get quite a bit of water out.”

Stimson said he experiences some runoff from the spring melt most years, but added he has “never seen this much snow in and around the house.”

He added that many of the roads in the area have been damaged by the water as well.

Stewart Breaker has been appointed the Siksika Emergency Management Team lead, the nation said.

LISTEN: Jill Croteau shares the updates on Calgary Today

Many parts of Lethbridge County were also placed under a state of local emergency on Monday because of rising flood waters as snow melts.

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