Disaster financial assistance is on the horizon for many communities in southwestern Manitoba. The effects of the weekend storm and overland flooding caused infrastructure damage, sewer backup and other problems throughout the area.
"We don’t know yet what the cost of this will be," said Premier Greg Selinger. "It will depend on what happens over the next few days, but we do expect that claims will be made for disaster financial assistance."
Selinger started his tour of the southwestern Manitoba areas effected by flooding in Brandon on Tuesday morning. Other stops included Deloraine and Melita.
"We definitely will be asking for money, not so much for repairs as to cover the costs of the preventative measures," said Melita councillor Bill Holden. "If we had not been in on Monday morning, business would have flooded."
Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization encourages residents to take appropriate action and keep track of expenses and losses. Recording damages with pictures and spending costs will help to make individual claims for disaster financial assistance later.
Officials in Virden and Hartney also confirmed that they will be putting in applications for disaster funding from the province.
"The town did take appropriate steps through the whole process, so it will be ready to put together the application later on," said Virden Mayor Jeff McConnell. "It is not a priority at this time."
Communities and the province are concerned about the swell of water that will be making its way from Saskatchewan through the river systems. Municipalities, including the City of Brandon, worked Tuesday to prepare for the unknown amount of water that could cause further flooding and damage.
"Our emergency measures officials are in constant communication with mayors and reeves to ensure that everyone is taken care of," Selinger said.
A conservation helicopter to be used for medical response in Westman was anticipated to arrived at the Brandon Municipal Airport (McGill Field) on Tuesday. The helicopter was requested by many municipalities with large amounts of road closure causing safety concerns.
By late Tuesday, 34 municipalities had declared states of local emergency, mostly in the Westman region.
"We are working with the department of Conservation to move the helicopter to Brandon," Selinger said. "This will make transportation to hospitals in emergency situations much easier."
The province had not been made aware of any circumstances over the weekend when the helicopter would have been needed, but Selinger said it is better safe than sorry.