Just two months ago, Chao Shen bought his dream home in the St. Adolphe, Man. area, and set to work turning it into a home where he and his wife could raise a family.
Now it’s more of a nightmare, with the basement of his new house under water.
“I feel sad, very sad, because I just bought this March 8 and I spent $40,000 on renovations, and now it’s all flooded,” he said.
On Friday, Shen returned to his home in the community just south of Winnipeg after being evacuated from the area due to overland flooding.
He came home to find his entire basement full of water, almost to the ground floor.
Since the ‘flood of the century’ in 1997, all communities in the Red River Valley have been protected by ring dikes.
Shen’s house is located just off St. Adolphe’s Dike.
He said he had heard about Manitoba’s great flood of 1997, but thought his home would be protected from flooding. Now he is afraid that he will have to move his house to higher ground.
He does not yet know whether the insurance will cover the damage.
Shen has spent much of the past two days trying to pump out water but can’t keep up.
“I wish it wouldn’t rain anymore,” he said.
Chris Ewen, the mayor of Ritchot Municipality, which includes St. Adolphe, says it’s a challenging time for the people of the Red River Valley.
While it dodged the worst of the latest weather system to move through the province, the region saw some light rain on Friday and Saturday.
Wind gusts also persist in southern Manitoba, which Environment Canada warned on Friday, could cause water levels in flood-affected areas to rise.
“We’re seeing a lot of road closures right now, especially with the heavy winds we had last night too. Lots of debris on the roads, just dangerous driving everywhere, even on our main roads, our major inter-community highways,” Ewen said in an interview on Saturday. with CBC News Network.
So far, 230 households in the Ritchot RM have received an evacuation notice and about half of the 850 affected residents have left their homes.
“It’s very devastating. And it’s not just physically devastating, it’s an emotionally draining and mentally draining situation,” Ewen said.
“The people who work behind the scenes are working around the clock to make sure the sandbags go out, to make sure homes are protected. So you know, I can’t imagine what most of them going through.”
VIEW | New resident St. Adolphe comes home to flooded basement:
Ritchot’s RM is one of 30 municipalities, not counting First Nations, that have declared a local state of emergency, a provincial spokesman said Saturday. That’s an increase of four since May 9.
To date, community members in Ritchot have filled 150,000 sandbags and worked around the clock to stop the water flow.
Ewen acknowledged the provincial government’s help, but says much more needs to be done to protect communities like his.
“We need more road infrastructure improvements. We need to raise those roads. We need to increase the height of the berms and ring levees around our communities — not just Ritchot, this is all over Manitoba,” Ewen said.
“The province must do more.”
A spokesman for the provincial government says it has previously announced “a substantial highway improvement program” and that the effects of flooding will be factored into the progress of repair projects.
30 municipalities under state of emergency
According to the province, the 30 municipalities where the state of emergency applies as of Saturday are:
- City of Arborg.
- Armstrong’s RM.
- Municipality of Bifrost-Riverton.
- RM van Cartier.
- Clanwilliam-Erickson Municipality.
- RM of Coldwell.
- RM van Dufferin.
- Emerson-Franklin Municipality.
- RM van Ethelbert.
- RM van Visser.
- RM van Grahamdale.
- RM of Gray.
- RM van Gimli.
- RM of Headingley.
- RM from McCreary.
- RM from Macdonald.
- RM van Montcalm.
- City of Morden.
- RM van Morris.
- Norfolk Treherne Municipality.
- Reynolds Municipality.
- RM van Rijnland.
- RM van Ritchot.
- Municipality of Pembina.
- RM of St Laurent.
- RM from Thompson.
- RM from West Interlake.
- RM of Whitemouth.
- City of Winnipeg Beach.
- RM from Woodlands.