Manitoba's Minister of Emergency Measures will visit several First Nations on Friday where emergency dikes are now being built, as the flood fight moves north.


MLA Steve Ashton, shown here during a flooding emergency in 2009, says four First Nations near Lake Manitoba are threatened. ((John Woods/The Canadian Press))

Steve Ashton will travel to the area, where the Pinaymootang, Little Saskatchewan, Lake St. Martin and O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nations are all threatened.Those communities are near Lake Manitoba and people there say they have never seen water this high. Aside from building dikes, people are pumping water from fields and crawl spaces.

Ashton says the situation is unprecedented and that homes may be at risk.

"We're going to look at what it takes to provide additional protection to those communities …There will be real challenges on Lake Manitoba," he said.

Emergency Measures will look at both short-term and long-term solutions, he said.

So far, the province is sending a sandbagging machine to O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi and, in Little Saskatchewan, a temporary clay dike is now in place.

Chief Garnet Woodhouse of Pinaymootang First Nation says the community on the Fairford River has never seen so much water and that 40 homes could be flooded. Evacuations are also possible, he said.

Woodhouse says the province has warned him it will get worse because of the Portage Diversion, a 29-kilometre diversion channel that redirects some water from the Assiniboine and empties it into Lake Manitoba.

This helps prevent flooding on the Assiniboine down river from the diversion, including in Winnipeg.

Flood waters are also being watched closely in the capital, where the Red River was expected to crest Wednesday, and along the Assiniboine River west of Winnipeg. Concerned citizens in Cartier and St. Francois Xavier have been shoring up some sand dikes that sprung small leaks Wednesday.

So far, there have been no major breaches.