Majority of Long Plain First Nation evacuees to start heading home Tuesday, chief says

Majority of Long Plain First Nation evacuees to start heading home Tuesday, chief says

The majority of people forced from their homes by flooding in Long Plain First Nation will head home in the next 24 hours.

Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches said at least 60 of the more than 80 people evacuated due to overland flooding will be given the all-clear to head home Tuesday. 

The residents are from two streets on the Manitoba reserve — Rodeo Bay and Rodeo Drive, which both run off Highway 305. Access to homes on those streets was cut off by overland flooding, but the water has since dried up, Meeches said. 

"We had no choice but to declare a local state of emergency in that area," he said. "Ambulances services couldn't get in, our school buses, our water trucks. There was just concern.… Some of the people have disability issues."

One of the community's water trucks is still stuck on one of the roads, he said.

Flooding has been particularly bad in that area of the reserve in the past few years and money has been set aside to make improvements to drainage. 

"We knew that it needed to be addressed," he said.

Meeches expects the remaining evacuees to head home in the next week or two.

Evacuations shouldn't be needed once improvements to drainage and roads are complete, he said, but until then, he's hoping for dry weather.

"Just cross our fingers and we don't get a two- or three-day rain.... It could put us back into the same place," Meeches said. "We're going to take some immediate steps to address those two roads."

Long Plain First Nation is about 100 kilometres west of Winnipeg near Portage la Prairie, Man.

The Canadian Red Cross is expected to update media Tuesday about how many people remain out of their homes in the province. On Saturday, the Red Cross said it was assisting more than 425 people, mainly from First Nations communities.