A house surrounded by water between Ste. Agathe and St. Adolphe. Nearly 2,000 people in Manitoba have been evacuated due to floods so far this year.
The Canadian Red Cross is actively responding to floods in the prairies. After a harsh winter, the spring is bringing with it warm weather causing snow to melt and rivers to rise. Close to 5,000 people are affected; many forced to leave their homes.
More than 200 Canadian Red Cross staff and volunteers have been mobilized to help.
“When disaster strikes, basic needs become urgent, particularly food and shelter,” says Ange Sawh, the director of disaster management for the Canadian Red Cross in western Canada. “Canadian Red Cross staff and volunteers in Saskatchewan and Alberta are ensuring that these basic needs are met and are providing comfort to evacuated families during a very difficult time.”
In addition to responding to current needs, the Canadian Red Cross is helping communities prepare for future disasters. In Manitoba, along with registering evacuees and reconnecting them with loved ones, the Canadian Red Cross is sharing its shelter expertise with eight communities preparing to potentially host large numbers of evacuated families. Experienced Red Cross shelter experts are providing information on how to manage congregate shelters through orientations and mock shelter set-ups.
“The communities that have received shelter briefings and training from the Canadian Red Cross have expressed their gratitude for this support,” says Sawh. “Should congregate shelters be needed now or for future disasters, communities in Manitoba will be ready.”
The waters continue to flow in the prairies and communities remain on high alert. As families slowly begin to return home, they know they can count on the Red Cross to help them in the difficult months ahead as they begin to recover.
Canadians who wish to support flood response and recovery efforts in the prairies are encouraged to make a donation.