Sioux Valley Dakota Nation residents walk past a home that was blown off its foundation by a tornado last July. Nearly a year later, some homes damaged in the storm still don’t have shingles, a local resident says.
It has been almost a year since a tornado ripped through Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, tearing one home off its foundation and damaging a number of others still in need of repairs.
"Some of those houses still don’t have shingles on their roofs, there’s plastic on those houses," Sioux Valley Dakota Nation resident Jo-Ann McKay said. "They were supposed to be fixed right away ... all winter these places didn’t have any shingles."
Although McKay’s home wasn’t affected by the storm, she’s lived there for 12 years and said there were a number of houses in need of upgrades and repairs even before last summer’s tornado wreaked havoc on the community.
"A lot of it isn’t because of the tornado ... it’s just the wear and tear of the houses," she added. "There’s a lot of us on the reserve with housing issues as far as mould and just the housing falling apart."
McKay said some of the community’s homes are in "terrible condition," but families live in them because they have nowhere else to go.
"Some have floors that are rotten right through, some have snakes coming in and rats coming in."
Last year’s storm sent two people to hospital and at least five families were evacuated. The storm system, which tracked its way through a large swath of Manitoba’s southwest corner on July 18, 2013, came with 100 km/h winds.
At the time, Sioux Valley Chief Vince Tacan said a number of homes lost power from the storm, and a couple of them had enough damage to make them unlivable until repairs were made.
Tacan could not be reached for comment before press time on Monday.
Damage left behind from the tornado also prompted a visit from Premier Greg Selinger.
At the time, Selinger told the Sun that any damage claims fall under federal jurisdiction, but that the province would do everything it could to work with the First Nation to advance any paperwork.
In total, 11 homes were damaged to different degrees by the tornado.
Five of the homes were built through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and are insured, including the home that was blown off its foundation. The remaining six are band units and were not insured.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 27, 2014