Minnedosa woman hopes disaster financial relief program can help flood-affected neighbours

Main Street in Minnedosa was flooded out June 29 after heavy rains.
Main Street in Minnedosa was flooded out June 29 after heavy rains. Corey Callaghan/Global News

A Minnedosa, Man., woman wants to help community members who were affected by flooding by tapping into a provincial disaster relief program.

Record-breaking storms at the end of June and beginning of July resulted in numerous homes, businesses and farms in a number of southern Manitoba communities being evacuated.

Minnedosa, north of Brandon, was one of the hardest hit.

“It’s been like nothing our town has ever seen,” resident Deanna Dupuis told 680 CJOB.

“Some people woke up after that first storm to a river flowing down Main Street. After COVID, it’s just been so, so hard for some people.”

Dupuis — whose property was luckily spared any damage from the flood — said shortly after the storm subsided and the community had a chance to assess the devastation, she began hearing from neighbours who were being snubbed by their insurance companies.

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“Just hearing about my neighbours, after they contacted their insurance providers and found out they had no coverage — after people are losing their homes, it’s just devastating news that they wouldn’t have this coverage,” she said.

“I had started to research and read up on different programs that were available and came upon this disaster financial relief program.”

Read more: ‘One-in-1,000-year event’: Manitoba’s Rivers Dam at highest level ever

Dupuis said she’ll be setting up a small centre in Minnedosa this week, as well as visiting homes to encourage as many affected locals as possible to apply for disaster relief in order to present the severity of the damage to the province.

“People are so giving in our town that they’re worried that ‘if I apply to this am I taking it away from people who really need it?’ No, we need the numbers,” she said.

“If we don’t have people applying, we won’t have anything available to anyone.

“I know we’ll get through it, but we need support to get through it and hopefully the Manitoba government sees this as the disaster that it was.”

In good news for people in the region, the province said Monday that it has regained confidence in the dam at Rivers, Man. —which was overwhelmed by water, leading to many of the evacuations in the area.

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Manitoba Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler
Manitoba Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler.

Manitoba infrastructure minister Ron Schuler said investigators have determined that the dam suffered no substantial damage in the disaster.

“We thank the people who evacuated for their understanding, and we are pleased to report they can now return home,” said Schuler.

“The engineering assessment based on current conditions shows no substantial amount of damage to the dam from record flows over the past two weeks.”

Schuler said the province’s Emergency Measures Organization will be in touch with affected municipalities to share safe-return procedures for those who were evacuated.

“We thank municipal officials for their tremendous effort and co-operation during this most challenging time,” said Schuler. “We also thank provincial staff and onsite crews for their tireless efforts to co-ordinate this response.”

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The dam will continue to be monitored for a further 24 hours as water levels continue to recede, and Manitobans remain cautioned against using Lake Wahtopanah for any purposes.

Click to play video 'Sixty-year-old Rivers Dam at highest level ever' Sixty-year-old Rivers Dam at highest level ever
Sixty-year-old Rivers Dam at highest level ever – Jul 2, 2020