An army of volunteers has been hard at work the last couple of weeks, assisting those impacted by flood waters in the St. Adolphe area.
Lesley Gaudry has been helping coordinate some of those efforts. Gaudry says over the last number of weeks they have been watching the Red River rise. For those who live within the dike, properties are protected and there is no threat of flooding. But, for residents living outside the town's ring dike, Gaudry says it has been a stressful time.
Gaudry says there are many residences that are impacted firsthand by the rising Red River. For some, it means their entire property is now surrounded by flood water, while others are impacted because of a loss of road access. She adds some folks have built up their flood protection to 1997 levels, while others have needed extra help with sandbagging or closing in their dikes.
According to Gaudry, volunteer efforts this spring have taken on many different looks. There have been groups of people who have come out to sandbag or build dikes, while others have picked up groceries for flood victims. In some cases, businesses have donated food to help feed the volunteers, while another business has donated the use of their trailer for delivering sandbags. Some volunteers have been used for cooking and delivering food, while other individuals have agreed to babysit in order to free-up others to volunteer. As well, local students have helped out by filling sandbags.
"It's been really cool to see a lot of goodwill," says Gaudry. "People aren't forgetting about civic duty."
She says a big shout out to Natalie Chow for organizing the food, Kori Plesiuk for helping connect volunteers with residents, St. Adolphe ESSO for donating food and Marcel LaFortune for donating the use of a trailer. She notes some of the volunteer efforts have started to slow down a little, though Gaudry says the work is far from over.
"It's one thing to sandbag and get everything ready and then the flood comes through, the next effort is to clean up," she says. "So we'll still be volunteering for a while after this, once the flood waters recede because all those dikes that came up, have to come back down and there's going to be cleanup involved as well."
Gaudry knows firsthand the cleanup involved following a flood. Having lived through the 1997 flood, she notes "many hands make light work." Gaudry says many of their residents who helped out in 1997 are seniors today.
"They are aging, and that aging population has put the time in," she notes. "So it's our turn."
Gaudry says a spring carnival was planned Saturday for St. Adolphe, noting it was a great way to boost morale after a week of sandbagging efforts. Yet, Gaudry says residents of St. Adolphe are resilient.
"I won't deny, it adds stress of course, it is stressful for families when they have to make alternative arrangements," notes Gaudry. "But I think they are holding strong. They know that they have the community support behind them."
Gaudry says as of Monday she has not heard of any basements in the St. Adolphe area that have flooded because of the swollen Red River.
Residents of St. Adolphe are still waiting for the Red River to crest. As of Monday, the Red sat at 767.49 feet at St. Adolphe, which is still about 21 inches below its peak in 2009. Gaudry says one of the big differences with this flood, compared to past ones, is just how prolonged this year's is. And she says the string of Colorado Lows is certainly not helping the cause.
- Ritchot Flood Inquiry Line, call 204-883-2147
- Ritchot Sandbag Line, call 431-778-5393
- Ritchot Evacuation Inquiry Line, call 431-778-7997
- Ritchot Sandbagging Volunteer Line, call 204-297-0794