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Flood damage in the RM of Ritchot expected to be more than $1 million

Click to play video: 'Communities along Red River worry flood damage could be costly' Communities along Red River worry flood damage could be costly
Communities along the Red River say the worst of the flooding has come and gone, but now the real work begins, and it could be expensive. Marney Blunt reports. – May 17, 2022

While flood-fighting efforts in the Rural Municipality of Ritchot, Man. are far from over, the mayor is expecting significant damage to infrastructure, and a significant bill to go with it.

“We don’t have the complete value yet but originally I said that we’re looking at a couple hundred thousand. We’re now into the million, if not millions, of dollars of damage,” Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen told Global News, adding that is only on municipal assets and doesn’t include damages to residential properties.

Read more: rovince says storm could bring up to 80 mm of rain to some areas in Manitoba

Ewen says it’s not just flooding damage that adds up on the bill, but also preventative measures, like building ring dikes and renting or buying additional flood flighting equipment.

“The major ones would be road infrastructure repairs,” he said. “You can drive around and see how fast the water (is), that current rips through there, and (it’s) still tearing apart roads, municipal roads and even provincial highways.”

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Click to play video: 'More Rain Could Mean More Problems For Manitobans' More Rain Could Mean More Problems For Manitobans
More Rain Could Mean More Problems For Manitobans – May 17, 2022

“There’s a lot to look at and we’re not even halfway seeing what the water has done because the roads are still under there,” Ewen added.

“We have a lot to evaluate, so it can be very well over that million-dollar point for us.”

Ewen says they’re hopeful the province’s disaster financial assistance program will help cover a significant portion of the costs. He also says while the Red River has now crested in the RM, the situation remains precarious, especially with rain in the forecast.

“I think residents are probably still on edge,” Ewen said. “The water is still very, very high. It depends what happens with wind, wind plays a huge factor along the Red River and what kind of damage they can see.

Read more: More rain could mean more problems for isolated western Manitoba communities

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“It’s always scary. We see residents still stuck on their island, they haven’t been able to communicate with friends and family as much they want, they’re not able to get out of their house every day, or they have to do a boat trip to get out of their house.”

Ewen says only one unprotected home was damaged by flood waters. But the community as a whole is feeling flood fatigue.

“The mental fatigue is definitely there,” he said. “I feel for our residents.”

The Rural Municipality of Morris is experiencing a similar situation, as much of the damage is still submerged underwater.

Click to play video: 'Morris Flood Update May 13, 2022' Morris Flood Update May 13, 2022
Morris Flood Update May 13, 2022 – May 13, 2022

“We’re seeing some damage, we know some damage has occurred,” Reeve Ralph Groening said. “We see debris, couple dozen culvert washouts. Some of the damage is not yet discoverable.”

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Groening says the RM had drones out Tuesday assessing the area and would be discussing it during Wednesday’s council meeting.

“It’s going to be a big job ahead of us,” Groening said. “Fighting a flood is one thing, the recovery is quite another. It’s more difficult and it will take most of the summer, I would expect.”

Read more: Minnedosa, Man. declares local state of emergency over flooding

In the RM of Morris, about 75 properties were given evacuation notices, forcing about 150 people from their homes. About 25 of the home owners issued evacuation notices chose to stay behind and try to protect their property.

Groening says many are ready to get back and start picking up the pieces.

“We have endured and survived the flood of 2022 and now the real work begins,” Groening said.

“Which is to reconstruct, recreate, do the repairs, and help people move back into a more normal life. Post-flood recovery is the challenge right now, and it’s huge.”

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