Blood Reserve residents forced from homes by flooding

Flooding has forced several hundred people from their homes on the Blood Reserve, the largest First Nation reserve in Canada.

About 100 homes affected so far

Wilma Crowchild of the Blood Reserve said her family received no warning about the danger of flooding. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Flooding has forced several hundred people from their homes on the Blood Reserve. 

Otherwise known as Kainai Nation, it is the largest First Nation reserve in Canada.

Some residents have headed to motels, while others were sent to an evacuation centre set up in Standoff, which is located on the reserve southeast of Lethbridge. Close to 100 homes have been affected by the rising water, most in a low-lying areas near Standoff.

The Waterton River is spilling its banks at the Highland campground in southern Alberta. The campground is located between Standoff and Fort Macleod. (CBC)

Wilma Crowchild, who has four families living in her house, said Wednesday they spent the early hours pulling items up from their basement, which eventually filled with more than two metres of water.

However, she said, they decided to leave the house before the road washed away.

Crowchild said the rising water fills her with concern.

 "I'm worried about it because after this is all over with, I get fear from the water because the grandkids go [near it]," she said. "And plus cleaning out the water and everything else, and sometimes we don't get covered for all of it."

Crowchild said they were not warned about the possibility of flooding. They found out when water started to pour into their home.

Oscar Cotton, fire chief for the Blood First Nation, said he has been told another 60 millimetres of rain is expected.

The Belly River is providing the biggest worries, Cotton said.

"Our biggest concern is the Belly River, that's where we have the most residents near the rivers," Cotton said. "We have four rivers that surround the reserve, and the Belly is the only one that doesn't have a dam. So the Belly is the one that is most subject to rising with precipitation."

The four rivers that surround the reserve are the Oldman, St. Mary, Belly and Waterton rivers.

The Whoop Up area near Lethbridge was also evacuated last night.

The water levels - as demonstrated by the blue line - on the Oldman River near Brocket, which is located on Piikani Nation just east of Pincher Creek, jumped significantly in the last two days. (Government of Alberta)