Manitoba flood evacuees get Easter surprise

Smiling faces, some covered in chocolate, celebrated Easter in Manitoba despite flood waters keeping them from their homes.

"With today being Easter we wanted to make sure that no child was left without a visit from the Easter bunny," said Cailin Hodder, senior manager of disaster management for Manitoba and Nunavut with the Canadian Red Cross.

There are more than 450 evacuees out of their homes because of spring flooding staying in different locations around the province, Hodder said.

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On Saturday, Red Cross said they were preparing for people from Opaskwayak Cree Nation to be forced from their homes due to ice jamming on the Saskatchewan River.

The Red Cross is also providing services to evacuees from Peguis First Nation, Long Plain First Nation, Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Canupawapka Dakota First Nation and Waywayseecappo First Nation.

Red Cross received a donation to provide fun activities like rock climbing and museum visits, and a special Easter surprise — a toy, Red Cross teddy bear and a chocolate bunny.

"All of our volunteers were dressed up with bunny ears and I saw one child who attacked his chocolate bunny, so just covered with chocolate all over his face which is really neat to see," Hodder said with a laugh.

The little holiday celebrations in communities across the province didn't just provide a sugar rush and Easter excitement for the kids, Hodder said it also helped parents.

"I think the adults are having just as much fun with it. It's certainly not fun to be evacuated there is certainly a lot of pressure right now and a lot of concern about what might be happening back home," she said.

"It's, you know, just for a moment you see that go away, which is nice and that's what we are here for."