Just two months ago, Chao Shen bought his dream home in the St. Adolphe, Man., area and went 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 their new home under water.
“I feel sad, very sad, because I just bought this March 8 and spent $40,000 on renovations, and now it’s all flooded,” he said.
On Friday, Shen returned to his home in the community south of Winnipeg, having been evacuated from the area due to groundwater flooding.
He came home to find the entire basement filled with water, almost to the main floor.
Since the “flood of the century” in 1997, all communities in the Red River Valley have been protected by ring levees.
Shen’s house is located just outside the St. Adolphe’s levee.
He said he had heard about the great Manitoba flood of 1997, but thought his house would be safe from flooding. He is now worried about having to move her house to higher ground.
He’s still not sure if the insurance will cover the damage.
Shen has spent much of the last two days trying to pump water, but he can’t keep up.
“I just wish it would stop raining,” he said.
Chris Ewen, mayor of Ritchot Township, which includes St. Adolphe, says it’s a tough time for the people of the Red River Valley.
While it dodged the worst of the latest weather system to pass through the province, the region saw some light showers on Friday and Saturday.
Wind gusts have also continued in southern Manitoba, which Environment Canada warned Friday could raise water levels in flood-affected areas.
“We’re looking at a ton of road closures right now, especially with the high winds we had last night as well. Lots of debris on the roads, just dangerous driving, even on our major thoroughfares, our major highways between communities,” Ewen said in an interview with CBC News Network on Saturday.
So far, 230 homes in the Ritchot RM have received evacuation notices 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 emotionally draining and mentally draining,” Ewen said.
“The people who work behind the scenes, they work day and night 24 hours a day to make sure the sandbags go out, to make sure the homes are protected. So, I can’t imagine what most of them are going through. “
CLOCK | A new St. Adolphe resident arrives at his home to find a flooded basement:
Ritchot RM is one of 30 municipalities, not including First Nations, that have declared local states of emergency, a provincial spokesman said on Saturday. That’s an increase of four since May 9.
To date, members of the Ritchot community have filled 150,000 sandbags and worked day and night to stop the flow of water.
Ewen acknowledged the help from the provincial government, but says much more needs to be done to protect communities like hers.
“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 everywhere in Manitoba,” Ewen said.
“The province needs to do more in the future.”
A provincial government spokesman says it has previously announced “a substantial road improvement programme” and that the impacts of the floods will be taken into account in moving forward with repair projects.
30 municipalities under state of emergency
The 30 municipalities in a state of emergency as of Saturday, according to the province, are:
- Arborg City.
- Armstrong’s MRI.
- Bifrost–Riverton Township.
- RM de Cartier.
- Clanwilliam–Erickson Township.
- MRI of Coldwell.
- Dufferin MRI.
- Emerson-Franklin Township.
- RM of Ethelberto.
- Fisher’s MRI.
- Grahamdale M.R.
- RM de Grey.
- Gimli MR.
- Headingley’s MRI.
- McCreary’s MRI.
- Macdonald’s MRI.
- M.R. of Montcalm.
- Morden City.
- Morris MRI.
- Norfolk Township Treherne.
- Reynolds Township.
- RM of the Rhineland.
- Richot’s MRI.
- Municipality of Pembina.
- RM of St. Laurent.
- Thompson’s MRI.
- West Interlake RM.
- MR of Whitemouth.
- Winnipeg city beach.
- Woodlands RM.