Costs of 'unprecedented' flood could top $360M, Sask. premier says

Premier Brad Wall says the damage caused by flooding this year will be greater than in 2011 — which itself was the worst in decades.

Brad Wall says he will visit flood-damaged communities Wednesday

Roads and culverts have collapsed in a number of areas in southeast Saskatchewan due to torrential rains on the weekend. This section of Highway 2 is washed out just south of Imperial, Sask. (Courtesy Mike Beckie)

Premier Brad Wall says the damage caused by flooding this year will be greater than in 2011 — which itself was the worst in decades.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Wall said many parts of the province are experiencing highway infrastructure disasters.

The 2011 flood resulted in $360 million in costs and this will likely be worse, Wall said.

After the southeast got 100 to 200 millimetres of rain over the weekend, basements have been flooded, roads and culverts have been washed out and many hectares of cropland have been flooded.

That's why offices such as the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program and the Highway Hotline are being kept open and staffed on the Canada Day holiday, Wall said.

He thanked volunteers and local, federal and provincial officials who have been responding to the crisis.

"[They] have been responding in remarkable ways to, really, a remarkable and in some respects an unprecedented rainstorm and flooding that is occurring through a great part of our province," Wall said.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he plans to visit flood-affected communities on Wednesday. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC)

The good news is that Saskatchewan is financially healthy and will be able to help those hurt by the flood, he said.

"We have a rainy day fund and we will use it," Wall said. "This is our No. 1 priority as a government  to respond, to help communities and the people of this province deal with it."

Wall says there's about $500 million in the province's rainy day fund, formally known as the growth and financial security fund.  

It's an all-purpose contingency fund the province has used to deal with fluctuating resources prices and unexpected spending demands.

Wall said there will likely be federal funds available for emergency relief, too.

According to a Saskatchewan government report, the 2011 flood in the southeast was was "unprecedented in its magnitude, extent and duration across the agricultural zone" of the province.

Fifty-three Saskatchewan communities have now declared local states of emergency.


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