Premier Selinger visits Lake Manitoba flood zone

Engineers are working on plan for an emergency channel to lower water levels on Lake Manitoba, Premier Greg Selinger says.
Many homes and cottages along the shores of Lake Manitoba have been severely damaged by flooding. (CBC)

Engineers are working on plan for an emergency channel to lower water levels on Lake Manitoba, Premier Greg Selinger says.

"Well, the engineers are coming forward with a recommendation, we hope early next week," the premier said after getting a first-hand look at the damage on Thursday. "And we'll see how fast they can get their analysis done. But they are fully engaged in looking at what we can do."

That is a bit of good news for stakeholders in the flooded areas, who say they are frustrated with the compensation process. Many say they have received initial cheques but can't get any answers about what will be reimbursed and how much they might be eligible for.

Anyone having problems with compensation should contact his office, the premier said.

Premier Greg Selinger says engineers are working on a plan for an emergency diversion to lower water levels on Lake Manitoba. (CBC)
In another development, the Red Cross has begun assessing flood damage across the province and says more than 2,700 households need help.

At least 200 homes have major flood damage, the relief agency said Thursday, adding it expects that number will rise as evacuees return in the next few weeks and evaluate damage.

The Red Cross said it will provide items such as food, medical supplies, household goods and cleanup kits, and help with basic repairs.

So far, more than $500,000 has been donated for flood relief in Manitoba, the agency said, but added its estimates suggest efforts could cost twice that amount.

Ranchers seek compensation

In Brandon on Thursday, farmers met to discuss the current situation of agriculture in the province, including compensation for crop and livestock losses due to flooding.

The gathering, which included about 50 members of Keystone Agricultural Producers, passed a resolution to lobby governments to help cattle farmers.

Farmers say  a harsh winter and spring flooding have hit the livestock industry hard after it was just getting over the mad cow crisis and as the market for beef is beginning to improve.

"That makes it difficult to accept — that we have a market that is in an upswing and we have a demand for the beef, but we still can't survive," said cattle rancher Bill Campbell.

KAP members want governments to give a compensation package of $200 a head for cattle ranchers.