State of Emergency Declared in Manitoba, Flooding Assiniboine River

State of Emergency Declared in Manitoba, Flooding Assiniboine River

Brandon : Canada | May 10, 2011 at 10:05 AM PDT
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Manitoba Premier At Assiniboine River Flood

The Manitoba government has declared a state of emergency due to the continued rise in the Assiniboine River. Record rainfalls and snow melt have pushed the Assiniboine over its banks. Five municipalities have received evacuation notices. The city of Brandon, already hit with flooding has put a further 1000 homeowners on evacuation notice.

In order to prevent uncontrolled breaches of dikes along the river, officials have been punching holes in areas to let the record amount of water to flood into hundreds of acres of farmland, deeming it less risky than chancing an uncontrolled break in the dikes. Farm houses on those lands will likely be sacrificed as well.

Another storm is set to hit the southern Manitoba area today, bringing an expected 70 ml(about 3.5 inches) of rain to the already sodden ground. This area of Canada regularly floods in the spring melt with the Red River flowing north from the Dakotas and the Assiniboine flowing into Lake Winnipeg. The governments have built flood-ways and diversions to deal with the spring runoff but this year has seen the worst flooding since records were kept in 1927.

South of the Canadian border, the Great Plains are dealing with widescale flooding as the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers inundate towns and crops. Millions of acres of crops have already been lost to the waters and spring planting will be delayed or simply not done.

The delayed or destroyed crops will very likely translate to higher prices at the supermarket this fall. Corn, soybeans and wheat are major components of the diet of people and feed animals.

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Manitoba premier speaks about holding back the floodwaters in Brandon.
BMcPherson is based in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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