Manitoba

200 people still out of homes months after Long Plain First Nation tornado

As many as one-third of the families whose homes were destroyed by a tornado on Long Plain First Nation in July will not be home for Christmas.

One-third of those displaced still waiting for housing after July 20 tornado destroyed 170 homes

A tornado that touched down at Long Plain First Nation on July 20 damaged or destroyed 170 homes. (Ryan Cheale/CBC)

As many as one-third of the families whose homes were destroyed by a tornado on Long Plain First Nation in July will not be home for Christmas.

A tornado swept through the community on July 20, destroying 170 homes and leaving 600 people homeless, Chief Dennis Meeches said.

"We have about approximately 200 people still displaced from their homes," Meeches said.

The enhanced Fujita scale 1 tornado ripped the roofs off houses, pushed some homes off their foundations, brought down trees and flipped vehicles when it touched down and travelled at least eight kilometres in the area. An EF-1 storm has sustained wind of 138 to 178 km/h.

"The work has commenced, pretty much almost immediately, but there were a lot of challenges," Meeches said.

Those challenges included dealing with paperwork required by Canada Mortgage and Housing insurance and to secure funding from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

The band itself has paid for a lot of the work, Meeches said.

"It took a little more time than we had anticipated, but for the most part, it's moving along," he said.

Roofing work and exterior repairs have been completed on most of the homes, but there's more to be done inside the homes, which need mould remediation in addition to reconstruction.

"It would have been nice to get 160 contractors in to work on every home. Of course, that's impossible," Meeches said.

Each home will be inspected for mould before anyone is allowed to move in.

While they wait, many families with school-age children are in Winnipeg, where the youngsters are going to school with Lake St. Martin evacuees displaced by flooding in 2011.

"We look forward to the return of people back into their homes. A lot of them, I know, are anxious to get back, if not all of them," Meeches said.

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