Harvested fish, moose meat 'stinking up' Manitoba fire evacuees' powerless homes
Red Cross to replace freezers, fridges for residents
When Manitoba fire evacuees return to their home communities, they're going to have to bid farewell to food that's spoiled in their fridges and freezers, which includes meat and fish they caught themselves.
"It's gonna be dirty, smelly, and we gotta throw out all the meat we had in the fridge and freezers and that's no food to go back to for now," said Collin Meekis, a Little Grand Rapids community health representative.
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"It's probably stinking up my house right now," added Tricia Owen, a mom of two from Little Grand Rapids.
Power has been out in Little Grand Rapids and the Pauingassi First Nation, which were evacuated last week as a wildfire triggered emergency evacuations from the fly-in communities. Some hydro poles caught fire.
Owen estimated she had 10-15 fish in her freezer she caught herself as well as moose meat that she'll have to throw out once she's allowed to return to her home.
With the power already knocked out before evacuations started, Robbie Leveque decided to clear out his freezer and left the meat he had outside for his dogs. It turned out to be a smart move for Leveque, who like hundreds of other evacuees then had to crowd a Canadian Forces plane to get to Winnipeg with not much more than the clothes on his back.
"I was trying to pack whatever I could take but they said we couldn't take anything so I had to leave my food."
The Red Cross said fridges and freezers will have to be removed and replaced due to the power outage and said it'll work with the first nations to provide new units once it can through an agreement it has with the federal government.
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The residents will also be provided with the means to replace lost food but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be given cash. No set amount has been determined yet, said Red Cross spokesperson Jason Small. He says plans will also have to be made to ship the appliances to the community.
With files from Meaghan Ketcheson