The rising Red River is cutting off access to more and more residents in the Rural Municipality of Ritchot.
Mayor Chris Ewen says as of Tuesday morning, they have about 20 road closures. Evacuation notices have gone out to more than 110 residences. Ewen says nearly half of those homes have now been evacuated.
Ewen says the evacuation notice is voluntary. However, he urges residents to really take it seriously and to consider whether leaving home might be the best option.
"This is a serious matter," he says.
If you do decide to stay home, Ewen says it is vital that you have enough food and water as well as a generator, should you lose power. He also stresses the importance of protecting your home. Ewen says some residents are not taking this seriously, and are ignoring the fact that they should be sandbagging their homes.
"By the time they need all that stuff in place to protect their home, it's too late," says Ewen. "Their road's washed out, the contractors can't get to them."
That means crews are leaving equipment and materials at the end of the driveway and the homeowner is left to figure out how to get that to the house.
"So this is a very serious matter," stresses Ewen. "And I hope that everyone is taking it seriously when they are served this notice."
According to Ewen, as of Tuesday morning, all of the evacuations are still the result of road loss and not because basements are flooding. But, with the Red River not yet reaching its peak, and the potential for more rain this weekend, Ewen says it could only be a matter of time before some residents start losing the battle.
Ewen says right now the municipality could use more volunteers to help with sandbagging efforts. Currently, they are focusing their attentions on the St. Adolphe area, as well as Howden and Grande Pointe. The municipality invites any residents needing assistance to call one of the following numbers:
- Ritchot Flood Inquiry Line, call 204-883-2147
- Ritchot Sandbag Line, call 431-778-5393
- Ritchot Evacuation Inquiry Line, call 431-778-7997
- For inquiries regarding the floodway gates, call 204-284-4550
- For inquiries regarding dike protection on your property, call 204-945-2121
- The Province of Manitoba EMO Line: 945-4772 or toll free at 1-888-267-8298
- For residents who require empty sandbags, please contact the Ritchot Flood Inquiry Line at 204-883-2147