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Military ready to help Manitoba flood victims

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The Canadian military is prepared to help Winnipeg battle the rising Red once again.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said today the military is "on standby ready to provide resources if need be."

During the 1997 flood, the Canadian military sent more than 8,500 personnel to Manitoba to help with everything from sandbagging and diking to evacuations and medical assistance. It was the largest deployment of Canadian troops since the Korean War.

Van Loan said the federal government is in constant contact with Manitoba emergency officials and is ready with any kind of help that might be needed.

"There’s not a need for a declaration of a natural disaster in advance or anything like that that you see in the United States on television," he said.

Ottawa is exploring what assistance can be provided through emergency preparedness programs, he said, adding that disaster financial assistance will kick in automatically as per the existing agreement.

Federal disaster money becomes available once damage costs exceed about $1.2 million in Manitoba. Disaster costs include evacuation operations, restoring public works and infrastructure and replacing or repairing basic, essential personal property of individuals, small businesses and farmsteads.

Van Loan said Manitoba Senior Minister Vic Toews will meet with Premier Gary Doer Friday.

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