WINNIPEG - Premier Greg Selinger said today flooding west of Winnipeg on the Assiniboine River has surpassed what was seen south of Winnipeg during the 1997 flood in the Red River Valley.
Selinger told the legislature an unprecedented 52,000 cubic feet per second of water is flowing on the Assiniboine River near Portage la Prairie.
"This is a natural disaster equivalent to 1997 and even beyond that is the area most affected," Selinger said. "We are in unchartered territory here."
Emergency Measures Organization Minister Steve Ashton said the province has asked for an additional 300 soldiers to help protect properties where the province plans to stage a controlled breach of a dike to take more water from the swollen Assiniboine onto mostly farmland south of Portage. About 150 properties are at risk.
The province says an uncontrolled breach could threaten more than 800 properties along the river
"The people who will be affected by the controlled release are without question playing a key role in our fight to contain the unprecedented flows on the Assiniboine River," Ashton told the legislature. "They are doing so by storing waters on the lands on very little notice."
Ashton also said province will develop a special relief program for families and farmers hit by flooding.
A replay of the press conference is embedded below. Scroll ahead to the 7:00 mark in Part 1 for the start of the event.