Some confusion as Cumberland House evacuees look for places to stay
Some 150 residents of Cumberland House who were evacuated as a flood precaution had to scramble to find accommodations Sunday night.
The evacuees arrived in Prince Albert expecting to find a place to stay at a hotel or at the local SIAST campus.
However, there weren't enough rooms at the Prince Albert Inn and SIAST wasn't open as early as expected.
The provincial government says the problem was that some people went to Prince Albert without first going through a check-in at Nipawin.
Band councillor Bill Cook said some people were told they could register at Cumberland House and leave earlier on their own and they didn't know about the Nipawin check-in.
Once officials heard people were already there in Prince Albert, they scrambled to arrange food and beds at SIAST on Sunday.
They started registering people at 5 p.m. CST.
As a wall of water approaches from the west, people have been leaving Cumberland House, Sask., in droves.
Provincial officials said Monday that 900 people who have registered with the province have been evacuated from the town and First Nation in recent days in preparation for flooding.
Hundreds more have not registered but have left the area on their own accord and are staying with family and friends on higher ground.
The evacuees are staying in Prince Albert, Nipawin, Melfort and Saskatoon.
They're staying at private homes, but also at hotels, schools and, in one case, a soccer facility.
Some of the water that caused massive flooding in Alberta is moving along the North and South Saskatchewan River chain and should peak in the Cumberland House area within a few days.
Water is rushing toward Saskatoon at a rate of 5,600 cubic metres per second, provincial officials said Monday — something that hasn't been seen in at least 100 years, according to officials.
The flow rate is based on measurements at several points along the river and includes measurements at Gardiner Dam. The dam, which was completed in 1967, is a massive embankment style of dam. The reservoir created by the dam is Lake Diefenbaker.
Lake Diefenbaker is filling up, and for now the outflow from Gardiner Dam is being maintained at 2,000 cubic metres per second, reporters heard at a morning briefing.
Video of the spillway on Sunday, uploaded to YouTube by Darren Walker, reveals the volume of water moving through the dam.
With the registered and unregistered people combined, up to 2,200 people in the Cumberland House area will need to go elsewhere.
As of Monday morning, Cumberland House Mayor Valerie Deschambeault said 95 per cent of people were out and the community looked like a ghost town.
"I think I own the street I'm on," she said.
The few people who are left can now turn their focus to protecting the community. Deschambeault said they have started building berms around important infrastructure and in low-lying areas.