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Hundreds of roads closed, homes evacuated as rivers continue to rise in Manitoba

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WINNIPEG - About 500 municipal roads are now closed and 29 local states of emergency are in effect across Manitoba due to flooding on an unprecedented scale across the province, Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton told the legislature this afternoon.

Nearly 700 Manitobans have been evacuated from their homes, Ashton said in a statement before Question Period.

"Provincial crews have been following multiple ice jams on the Assiniboine River between Poplar Point and Baie St. Paul Bridge," Ashton said.

"The rapidly rising waters in this area have been largely contained by the Assiniboine River dikes, which were raised by the province last month. Crews and equipment remain on site today to reinforce the dike, to put up secondary protection where it is needed."

Ashton said the RMs of Cartier, St. Francois Xavier and Headingley have all declared states of local emergency.

Meanwhile, the forecasted peak for the Assiniboine River at St. Lazare has increased due to higher flows from the Qu’Appelle River as well as higher area precipitation.

"Provincial crews are raising a one-kilometre section of the community dike at St. Lazare as a precautionary measure," Ashton said.

The minister commended provincial flood-fighting staff for keeping watch around the clock on dikes along the Assiniboine River — "even sleeping in their trucks when necessary." He said due to their work on the weekend, homes and farmland were saved from flooding from ice jams.

Ashton also patted the government on the back for having the "foresight" of raising 70 kilometres of dikes along the Assiniboine east of Portage la Prairie to prevent significant flood damage this spring.

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