Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Flood victims not alone

  • Print

Under dark skies and in the cold and wet and muck, thousands of Manitobans are struggling to protect their homes and their livelihoods from the relentless rush of water in western Manitoba. More than 3,000 people have already been forced to abandon their homes, while hundreds more are under an evacuation alert as they await the deluge.

Some residents, particularly those who will be affected by the artificial cut in the dike at the Hoop and Holler Bend on the Assiniboine River, face additional stress caused by the uncertainty over whether their properties will be swamped and over the levels of protection they need to protect their homes.

Flood Fight

Of course nothing can make up for the pain and suffering of those affected by the merciless rise of the river, but hopefully there is some comfort in the knowledge that Manitobans are deeply aware of their agony and that people want to help in a direct way.

About 1,000 Canadian soldiers, hundreds of volunteers, 700 provincial government workers and several relief agencies have been working to stem the tide in communities along the Assiniboine. There will also be compensation for most of the losses, although it remains unclear how farmers and others will be paid for lost income and opportunities.

For many people, the emotional trauma will only get worse when the waters settle back into their banks. That's when the disaster will really strike home as residents struggle to replace lost possessions, rebuild destroyed homes and restart wrecked businesses.

They will need help for months and possibly years afterwards. They will depend on the charity of all, and not just government.

Fortunately, the Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army, St. John's Ambulance and Mennonite Disaster Services, to name only the most obvious agencies, are in the thick of it, each contributing in a different way. The Salvation Army, for example, has served over 10,000 meals so far, while the Red Cross is registering evacuees and preparing special shelters, among other things.

People who want to help, but aren't capable of throwing a sandbag, should consider making a donation to one of these outstanding agencies, which are always there for Manitobans. In fact, Mennonite Disaster Services is still helping people who suffered losses in previous Manitoba floods, and it will be there for those hit by this year's flood long after the water has subsided.

Churches, mosques and temples are also involved, showing that there are many ways to care and help. Many large corporations, such as Walmart, Home Depot, Tim Hortons and others have been pitching in.One thing that is not needed at this time is the flood tourist. No one should be travelling to a crisis zone unless they have a legitimate reason. If you can't help, then don't hinder.

Although most of the focus is on the Assiniboine, in fact flooding is being fought in dozens of other places across Manitoba, including around Dauphin Lake and parts of Lake Manitoba, Crane River, St. Laurent and along the Souris, Elm and La Sale rivers. In some areas, the threat is not from a river or lake, but from overland flooding.

Winnipeg was largely insulated this year, as it was during the Flood of the Century in 1997, thanks to extensive flood mitigation efforts both south and west of the city. It should never be forgotten that some people suffer because Winnipeg is protected, a fact that is frequently cited by rural residents with some bitterness.

The flood is far from over, and there may be more surprises in store and more heartache to bear, but let there be consolation in the acts of friendship and fellowship that are rising across the land.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 14, 2011 0


Updated on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 11:43 AM CDT: Corrects name of Mennonite Disaster Services.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Feeling at home at Home Expressions

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Standup- Morning Fog. Horse prances in field by McPhillips Road, north of Winnipeg. 060605.

View More Gallery Photos


Are you planning to go visit the new polar bear, Humphrey, at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google