It could be weeks before Sioux Valley Dakota Nation evacuees can return home safely to their flood-damaged community.
Marla Wombdiska said she was evacuated to Brandon from her flooded home at the end of June. She and her family are slated to stay in a local hotel until the end of the month.
"When I left, the water was seeping in through the walls," Wombdiska said. "We experience a flood every year, but it hasn’t been this bad since 1995."
A dike has been set up around the family’s home but overland flooding continues to close a portion of Highway 21, the main route in and out of the community.
"I can’t return home for a long time because the water is right over our road," she said. "There’s no road to our home."
While Wombdiska and her two sons wait to return home, the Canadian Red Cross is providing evacueess with a clothing allowance as well as hygiene products. Daily meals are also being covered by the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters, she said.
Although water levels in Sioux Valley have gone down about four inches since Sunday, there are still roughly 150 evacuees staying in Brandon, according to the community’s chief, Vince Tacan.
So far, he has estimated damage repairs — ranging from flooded basements to wind-damaged roofs and window replacements — could cost roughly $450,000. Included in this total are repairs for both uninsured and insured properties, he said.
After a meeting with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada last week, Tacan said "it sounds a little more promising" they will receive a reimbursement for these repairs in the near future.
"The department will be supporting costs that are eligible under the provincial disaster financial assistance program," an AANDC spokesperson told the Sun via email. "We are also continuing discussions with the First Nation on costs related to the 2013 tornado."
In the meantime, Tacan said they’re continuing to pump water out of basements. However, sandbagging to protect homes has been halted.
"We’re now going to focus on pumping out basements and doing that kind of work and then hopefully after that’s done, we’ll be in a position to start removing the sandbags."
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