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Prime Minister Stephen Harper Tours the Flood Zone in Manitoba

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a 40-minute helicopter ride to survey the flood zone in Brandon Manitoba, near the Assiniboine River on Sunday.

The air tour took Harper, Premier Greg Selinger and several local MPs over flooded farmland, washed out homes and roads. The worst of the flood damage has been concentrated in the rural community of Pierson, Manitoba, located south west of the city of Brandon, about 5 miles east of the Saskatchewan border.  No evacuations have been ordered so far in Brandon.

Harper said he wanted to express his solidarity with the people who have been affected by the floods. In an interview with CTV News, Harper made a point to thank the military and explained that the Portage la Prairie area is expected to pose the greatest challenge if flooding continues.

Floodwater coming from the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan forced Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger to declare a state of emergency on Friday, requesting military assistance to help prepare communities for flooding. There are 500 soldiers who are working on the ground setting up sandbags in the region to deal with the flood dangers.

While the crest is currently below the 2011 flood level, water levels downstream of Brandon are projected to be about one foot higher than the 2011 devastating flood, which was one of Manitoba’s worst floods on record.

After the 2011 floods, the province began to work on improving the infrastructure to better prepare for future floods, including reinforcing dikes and raising bridges and other structures. Some of that work is still ongoing, as political leaders didn’t expect to see another flood occur within three years.

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