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MUNICIPALITIES hit hard by flood damage from what’s been described as a "one in 1,000 year" rainfall last month need help now, say Manitoba Liberals.
"The damage was really incredible — just because the water’s gone away doesn’t mean the problem’s (gone)," said Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, who travelled to the affected areas last month. On Friday, he called on the province to use the Disaster Financial Assistance program to help individuals and communities dealing with the wreckage. The program gives money to Manitobans recovering from natural disasters. The financial support covers uninsurable losses to basic and essential property.
Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in southwestern Manitoba as some areas, including the community of Rivers, received more than 200 millimetres of rainfall over a couple days. Bridges and roads in Neepawa and Minnedosa, among other places, are in disrepair.
Coun. Jason Nadeau of Neepawa said he’s hoping his town receives financial aid from the province.
Residents in Neepawa aren’t getting insurance coverage for property damage because it was caused by overland flooding, Nadeau said Friday.
Water damaged 16 houses in the town on July 1. The community also saw massive wreckage to their infrastructure, especially after the walls of Park Lake breached. The town breaks even on their budget every year, Nadeau said.
"We need some support to put some of the infrastructure back in place," he said.
Flooding rendered one bridge in Neepawa unusable. Now, residents can’t cross to access parks. And one man who lives on the other side of the bridge is stranded, Nadeau said.
"Right now, he’s making due going through a farmer’s field."
Nadeau said the town plans to make a new bridge, but it’s replacement will probably cost $1.5 million.
"We have to figure out what we’re going to do with the lake also," he said. "There are a lot of unknowns for Neepawa."
Nadeau said he can’t discount the work Neepawa residents have put in to build the community back up.
"It’s just amazing community involvement," he said. "(I) can’t praise that enough."
Lamont said he wrote a letter to Premier Brian Pallister asking for disaster assistance for municipalities affected by the flooding and heard there was supposed to be a cabinet decision but nothing has yet been announced.
The province is looking into helping flood-damaged municipalities, a government spokesperson said in a written statement Friday
"Manitoba continues to work with affected municipalities to determine the full scope of impacts," the statement said. "Once they are understood the province will determine how best to support Manitobans in their recovery from this event."
Community Correspondent — Headingley
Gabrielle Piché is a community correspondent for Headingley. Email her at email@example.com
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