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RM of Portage issues voluntary evacuation alert

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More Manitobans are being told to leave their homes as the RM of Portage la Prairie braces for a controlled flood south of the Assiniboine River on Wednesday.

The municipality is worried about 150 homes southeast of Portage la Prairie that would be affected, Reeve Kam Blight said Tuesday night.

The RM was calling it a precautionary, voluntary evacuation.

"It will become mandatory if municipal officials have escalating concerns over safety," a news release issued by the RM said.

The affected area is about 48 square kilometres from Road 34 W east to PR 13 and from PR331 south 5 kilometres to Road 60N.

Evacuees are asked to register their destination with the Red Cross 1-888-662-3211. A reception centre has been set up in the Provincial Building in the city of Portage at 25 Tupper St. North.

The municipal news release said people leaving their homes should take medications, identification, important legal documents and arrange for care of their pets.

In Brandon, about 1,000 people have been forced form their homes because of the swollen river. 

Seven-hundred evacuees from south of the river registered at Brandon's Keystone Centre, with an additional 285 evacuees calling to register by phone.

The evacuation zone is off-limits — patrolled by police and private security. Even home and business owners will only be allowed in if they need to check on their sump pumps, and even then they will have to call the city at 729-2186 to pre-register and to be told when and where to go.

The city also notes that natural gas to the evacuated buildings has been shut off, due to concerns pipes may shift if the area is flooded.

Crews will turn the gas back on when it is time to do so, the city says, but all told, evacuees might be out of their homes for a couple of weeks.

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