Municipalities in the southwest corner of the province have started the cleanup process after suffering from severe overland flooding.
Water levels have started to recede in most rivers and creeks throughout the area, but a large amount of overland water remains because the soil is too saturated to take it in.
“We still haven’t been able to return all of our evacuees,” said Lisa Pierce, chief administrative officer for the RM of Edward. “Around 40 families from inside Pierson and farms are not able to go home yet.”
The RM of Edward has been under a state of emergency since June 5. Pierce said the recovery process has not quite started, but municipal officials have been in communication with Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization.
EMO has a mobile recovery unit moving throughout Westman to help speed up the process for individuals applying for disaster financial assistance.
Today will be the unit’s last day in Virden, before moving to Elkhorn on Wednesday and Melita on Thursday and Friday.
“It is a definite benefit to have it here,” said Garth Mitchell, chief administrative officer for the village of Elkhorn. “We have been photocopying disaster financial assistance applications and have given out a large amount from the office already.”
Pierce is working with the Emergency Measures Organization to bring the mobile unit to Pierson once more roads and highways have reopened in the RM.
She expects most residents in the RM and town will want some amount of assistance.
Bridges are the No. 1 priority going forward for the RM of Edward, she said. The bridges are unable to be assessed for damage until after the water goes down considerably.
Many municipalities and towns in the flooded southwest will be approaching the government for some type of disaster financial assistance, including Melita, Virden, Hartney and Elkhorn.
Officials said the process of gathering all the required information to put in an application has just started.
Many areas of the region had just finished the compensation process from the flooding in 2011.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 8, 2014