Cumberland House evacuees can return home: Mayor

SASAKATOON – The Mayor of Cumberland House and Chief of Cumberland House Cree Nation visited Saskatoon Monday morning to deliver the good news: evacuees can return to their homes on Wednesday.

“I’m excited…I want to go home,” said Cumberland House evacuee Marjie Buck.

“Buses will be coming to take us…and people with their own homes get to go ahead I guess.”

More than two thousand people were evacuated to Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and other communities.

Significant rainfall caused water levels to rise several weeks ago. Flooded roads going in and out of the area were the province’s biggest concern.

Chief of Cumberland House Cree Nation Lorne Stewart said the water wasn’t expected to peak until mid-July.

“Just two days ago we got news from Saskatchewan Water Security Agency letting us know that the water flow they projected was going to be eight inches less than what we’ve seen in 2011.”

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A number of evacuees say communication has been a problem throughout their time away from home.

“Nobody’s informing us of the things…nobody’s updating us of anything back home…how the water level is going and how our houses are doing,” said Cumberland House resident Ferlin McKay.

“The proper communication…the proper updates we weren’t receiving…and we ironed that out. It took four or five days but we ironed it out and now that communication is there,” said Stewart.

“But now that it’s there…we’re going home on Wednesday. ”

Stewart is thanking all the volunteers who cared for evacuees, but the Red Cross said it’s been a team effort.

“All these situations things can change so quickly it’s important to have quite a streamlined communication, and that’s why it’s so great that we’ve got the mayor and the chief really working side by side,” said Tim Johnson with the Red Cross.

Many activities were provided for the evacuees during their stay in Saskatoon, including swimming, sightseeing, and Canada Day celebrations.

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