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Province Announces Disaster Financial Assistance Programs

The Manitoba government will provide disaster financial assistance (DFA) for three high water/weather-related events that hit the province earlier this year.
 
“High water issues started in the spring and the response focused on the Red River Valley,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler. “Excessive rain events hit two areas of the province in early June and then again at the end of June into early July, creating overland flooding issues. We are able to provide disaster financial assistance programs for all three.”
 
The provincial Hydrologic Forecast Centre identified a potential high water situation in the Red River Valley for spring 2020, during the event both the Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion were activated. Provincial operations focused on the Red River Valley ring dike communities and included pumping, completing partial ring dike closures and ramping of roads for continued community access.
 
The southeast area of the province received heavy rains from June 6 to 10, with some areas recording almost 200 millimetres of rain within three days. Overland flooding was reported in the rural municipalities (RM) of De Salaberry, Piney, Reynolds, La Broquerie and Stuartburn, as well as the Municipality of Emerson-Franklin.
 
Another heavy rain event occurred June 28 to July 5 in western and southern Manitoba, impacting the communities of Minnedosa, Rapid City and Rivers as the rain-swollen Little Saskatchewan River made its way to the Assiniboine River. The heavy precipitation was a one-in-1,000-year rain event resulting in the province losing confidence in the provincial dam near Rivers. Recommendations were shared with municipalities to evacuate a limited number of properties as a precaution. The Portage Diversion was activated from July 2 to 9, to limit water flow in the lower Assiniboine River.
 
Heavy precipitation in the upstream watershed of the Whitemud River caused a significant rise in levels along the river, exceeding 2011 levels. Ten municipalities declared a state of local emergency and 20 municipalities were impacted by heavy rain.
 
“Manitobans are always encouraged to check their insurance policies first, then consider a DFA program application,” added Schuler. “The DFA program should be used as a last resort.”
 
DFA programs provide provincial assistance for certain disaster-related losses when a widespread natural disaster strikes and creates an unreasonable financial burden. Assistance is generally provided for recovery needs of local governments, occupied private residential properties, farms, small business and some not-for-profit organizations.
 
“We are pleased to be able to offer these programs even at a time when COVID-19 is consuming an enormous amount of provincial resources,” said Schuler. “Preliminary estimates show at least two of the programs will be substantial enough for potential cost-sharing with the federal government through the federal disaster financial assistance arrangements.”
 
The DFA application deadline for local authorities and those in the private sector is December 10.
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