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Westman First Nations keep close watch on water levels

Damage is visible after a swollen creek at the northwest end of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation washed out the driveway to a home, cutting it off from nearby Highway 21 during flooding last weekend.

TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Damage is visible after a swollen creek at the northwest end of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation washed out the driveway to a home, cutting it off from nearby Highway 21 during flooding last weekend.

Some southwestern Manitoba First Nations are struggling to stay dry after days of rain drenched their communities and powerful winds damaged homes.

Water damage forced Sioux Valley Dakota Nation to close its health centre Wednesday "until further notice," but health services can still be accessed by calling a list of numbers posted on the community’s Facebook page.

Although water levels have dropped significantly in Sioux Valley, not all of the nearly 140 evacuees currently staying in Brandon are allowed to return home.

"Some are returning home today because they have hydro," Sioux Valley Chief Vince Tacan told the Sun yesterday, adding others could be seen in town checking on their homes.

"They are trying to salvage personal items."

While the community waits for an overall damage assessment, Tacan said their focus now is on rising water levels along Highway 21. He said if water rises another foot or so, it could threaten their community.

"If that goes, we will be in trouble," he said.

High water levels have also forced Waywayseecappo First Nation to evacuate 15 residents to Russell after last weekend’s storm washed out roads, stranding three families in their homes.

"There’s water flowing high ... but it’s not a hazard at this time," Coun. Barbara Cameron said. "It’s all under control."

Several basements in the community were also under a couple of feet of water, Cameron said, adding they’re unsure of when evacuees will be able to return home.

Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation Chief Delbert Cruise said he believes they may carry out a few evacuations today along the east side of the reserve once they’ve done a damage assessment and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada gives them the green light to do so.

"People also don’t want to leave their homes," Cruise said, adding evacuees would likely stay in Brandon. "The roads are really saturated and really bad."

Cruise said around eight homes have flooded basements and strong winds over the weekend damaged several roofs.

However, no evacuations have been carried out in Rolling River First Nation or Birdtail Sioux First Nation, despite heavy rainfall flooding several basements in both communities.

"It’s minor flooding, it’s not major flooding ... a few inches of water in their basements," Rolling River Coun. Michael McKay said. "I think everybody’s going through something like that."

Birdtail Sioux Coun. Heath Bunn said rising groundwater has also overwhelmed sump pumps.

"It’s just basic maintenance at this point," he said. "It’s crazy how much rain we’ve been having."

» lenns@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @LindseyEnns

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 3, 2014

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Some southwestern Manitoba First Nations are struggling to stay dry after days of rain drenched their communities and powerful winds damaged homes.

Water damage forced Sioux Valley Dakota Nation to close its health centre Wednesday "until further notice," but health services can still be accessed by calling a list of numbers posted on the community’s Facebook page.

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Some southwestern Manitoba First Nations are struggling to stay dry after days of rain drenched their communities and powerful winds damaged homes.

Water damage forced Sioux Valley Dakota Nation to close its health centre Wednesday "until further notice," but health services can still be accessed by calling a list of numbers posted on the community’s Facebook page.

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