Peguis First Nation homes evacuated because of flooding

At least 40 people were forced from their homes in Peguis First Nation Friday night and more joined their ranks Saturday as the community fought flood waters.

Dozens of people forced out homes, emergency official says 400 homes threatened

Flooding at Peguis First Nation that has forced dozens of people out of their homes. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

At least 40 people were forced from their homes in Peguis First Nation Friday night and more joined their ranks Saturday as the community fought flood waters. 

Chief Glenn Hudson said 13 homes had been affected so far but he said more homes, between 12 and 20, were expected to be evacuated Saturday.

He said the Fisher River was running high and he blamed the flooding on ice jams.
The Peguis Flood EMO centre was in full swing Saturday with 60 evacuees registered and more homes on the reserve threatened. (Katie Nicholson/CBC)

Hudson said the evacuees have been sent to hotels in Winnipeg but he's worried because some of them have health issues such as diabetes and breathing problems and one woman is pregnant. 

"Some of them were able to walk out with hip waders," he said. "And some just left their vehicles parked away from their home and ending up walking out on their own basically."

The CBC's Katie Nicholson reported that the Peguis Flood EMO Centre was in full swing Saturday responding to multiple emergencies on reserve. 

Co-ordinator William Sutherland told her as many as 400 homes are at risk of flooding in the community, and that 60 flood evacuees had registered with the centre as of mid-day Saturday, numbers that are far higher than what the province reported.

"We do have multiple road accesses comprised," he said. "We have the rapid response flood tube teams going out and protecting as many homes as possible." 

Chief Hudson said residents are, sadly, all too familiar with flooding. He said 200 of the community's residents are still off reserve from previous floods in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

"It has been stressful all along throughout the years," he said. "Obviously we have become experts in flood and flood fighting efforts."

MANFF reappears to help out

The province said it delivered 100 water tubes to Peguis, but that the flooding situation was being managed by the federal government and the community.

A provincial spokesperson also said evacuations are being co-ordinated by the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters.

MANFF ran into trouble for financial issues related to 2011 flood evacuees. 

In 2013, the federal government removed the agency from handling First Nations people displaced by the 2011 flood.

The provincial spokesperson told CBC Saturday that the federal government still has a contract with MANFF.

And in Peguis, EMO co-ordinator William Sutherland confirmed MANFF personnel were on the ground assisting,

The province also confirmed Saturday approximately 50 homes in Peguis have been damaged by flood waters or lost access because of flooding.

The province said water levels appear to have crested in the community.

Below is video the CBC's Katie Nicholson shot of sandbagging efforts in the community. Below that, the CBC's Jacques Marcoux shot video of the CBC's vehicle kicking up water as it drives along a flooded road Saturday.