Manitoba approves Red River disaster aid

Farmers, businesspeople and homeowners in Manitoba’s flooded Red River Valley can now apply for provincial disaster financial assistance (DFA) to cover non-insurable damages.

“DFA cannot fully replace what’s lost, but it can provide some relief, where insurance is not available, for those affected by this event,” provincial Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Ashton said in a release Monday.

Regular updates have been provided to the federal government about Manitoba flooding, Ashton said, adding he expects Ottawa will share the costs of DFA.

DFA is generally available for evacuation costs, costs to prevent or limit “imminent damage,” and for non-insurable damage to essential property such as an applicant’s principal home, buildings and other non-insurable losses essential to the operation of eligible farms and small businesses.

That said, the province encourages potential applicants to first seek assistance through individual insurance claims.

Farmers applying for DFA will have to provide supporting documentation upon inspection of the damage, such as proof of the property’s ownership (or, in the case of rented land, the authorization of the landowner) and of the ownership status of the farm business (sole proprietorship, partnership, limited company, non-profit group).

Provincial flood forecasters said Monday afternoon that due to rain and higher tributary flows, the Red River is now expected to reach 1979 levels in much of the Red River Valley from Letellier to the floodway inlet.

Such levels are well below those seen in the valley’s notorious 1997 “flood of the century” but are above those seen in 2006. “This means that even though ice has moved out, the flood situation remains serious and vigilance is required throughout the flood zone,” the province said.

Substantial jams of thick river ice floes backed up in areas north of Winnipeg over the long weekend, causing flash flooding and property damage in rural areas around Breezy Point and Petersfield, where crews were able to mount quick evacuation efforts and ensure no one was injured.

With the first crest, loaded with ice, now past, the crests from the water on the Red, from the community of St. Jean Baptiste to the Red River Floodway inlet just south of Winnipeg, are now expected to be similar to those of 1979, the province said. That crest will be later and is now expected at Morris, Man. this Friday and at St. Adolphe, just south of Winnipeg, on the weekend.

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