Sask. First Nation families await housing help
Eighteen families left homeless after a devastating tornado July 2 on the Kawacatoose First Nation reserve do not yet know how they will spend the coming winter.
"It's hard to deal with because you want to move on with your life, and it's not over yet, you know," Candice Rosling told CBC News on Thursday.
"You're stuck in this disaster. It's hard to move on. It's hard to carry on and look at it as being part of the past when you're still living in it."
The roof of Rosling's home was ripped away in the tornado that struck the day after Canada Day around 5:30 p.m.
The tornado was classified as an F3 in terms of intensity, with winds of 250 to 300 kilometres an hour. There were no serious injuries, but 18 homes were ruined, leaving 82 people with no place to stay.
Kawacatoose First Nation is about 120 kilometres north of Regina, near Raymore, Sask. About 1,100 people live on the reserve in only 190 houses — counted before the damage — which amounts to an average of almost six people per dwelling.
Since the disaster, many families have been living in camping trailers.
Shawn Atleo, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, toured Rosling's make-shift quarters Thursday and noted it would not be adequate for a Saskatchewan winter.
"They're in trailers right now, but those trailers are only good until 10 below and winter is fast approaching," Atleo said. "So we can't forget Kawacatoose."
Darin Poorman, chief of the Kawacatoose band, said Thursday he was told federal money to help with the disaster would only be available after work on rebuilding is complete.
There is an estimated $7.7 million in flood and tornado damage on the reserve.
Poorman said the band has only received a fraction of that amount from insurance claims and a provincial relief program.
He said the band has tried to get financing but cannot secure a loan until the federal government indicates how much it will pay.