May 26, 2015

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Flooding causes phone problems in southern Manitoba

WINNIPEG -- Spring flooding in southern Manitoba has left about 3,000 residents in six rural communities with limited phone service, or none at all.

The problem began early Sunday after flooding caused a section of bank on the Pembina River east of La Riviere to collapse, severing one of MTS’s buried fibre optic cables.

An MTS statement sent late Sunday night said there is currently no phone service in the communities of Mariapolis and Snowflake, and limited local and long-distance service in Swan Lake, Crystal City, Somerset and Pilot Mound.

The collapse of the bank between Manitou and Pilot Mound is also affecting the quality of cell phone coverage in the region, the statement says.

MTS said local emergency services — where availabile in the communities — can be accessed by dialling local seven-digit phone numbers in Swan Lake, Crystal City, Somerset and Pilot Mound. However, 911 service connecting residents to the provincial emergency call centre in Brandon is not working in the communities.

It says crews are on the scene and it hopes to restore the majority of services by tonight, "but due to the location of the fibre cut site at or under the Pembina River and the impact of floodwaters adding to the difficulty of access to the site, it is not expected the local and long-distance telephone and wireless services will be restored for an extended period of time."

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