Northern Manitoba communities shiver in power outage
It was a cold, dark night for many people in northeastern Manitoba.
Residents of several remote communities were without electricity due to a power outage that began around midday Wednesday.
"People are getting up cold, and babies need to warm up their bottles somehow and when they don't have the heat, my goodness, I don't know what we're going to do," said Oxford House band Coun. Alpheus Hart.
Councillors are planning to go to the band office where they have a generator and cook food and distribute it to people in need, he said.
The power outage began at around noon CT in several communities in the Island Lake area, affecting the transmission line that feeds power into those communities, Manitoba Hydro confirmed to CBC News.
The communities without power include Oxford House, Garden Hill, Gods Lake Narrows, Gods River and St. Theresa Point, said Hydro spokesman Glenn Schneider.
Schneider said poor weather and fog prevented Hydro crews from flying in on Wednesday, so they will try again on Thursday morning, he said.
The cause of the power outage is currently not known. Schneider said crews will need survey the transmission line by air, as there are no roads in the area.
Hart worries the poor weather could linger for two to three days, which he said would be disastrous for people in Oxford House.
Gilbert North, who lives in the community, said local elders were being relocated on Wednesday evening to the local senior's home, which has a generator.
Hart said about 80 per cent of the community depends on electricity for heating, so he is especially concerned about how families can keep their infants and young children warm.
"It's going to be a disaster if it continues like this because it's not warm," Hart said.
Many people in Oxford House built fires outdoors on Wednesday night to cook their food, he added.
North said many people are worried about their food spoiling if the power outage goes on for too long.
Temperatures in Oxford House are expected to hover around 0 C for the rest of this week and into next week, according to Environment Canada.