Cumberland House Bracing For The Worst

Friday, June 24, 2005 at 14:47



Floodwaters continue to creep closer to the northern community of Cumberland House.


The worst of the flooding is expected to hit this weekend or early next week — and could linger for a couple of weeks.


Already, the water has seeped over the only highway out of town to the point that the road is now closed.


However, Highways and Transportation spokesman Doug Wakabayashi says transportation is still being made available to residents still in the community who want to get out.


The mayor of Cumberland House says as much as 12 centimetres of water is covering the road to his village.


Dale McAuley says waters have steadily risen on the banks of the community, but at this time haven’t approached individual buildings.


He’s not sure how many residents remain in Cumberland House, but says the vast majority have been evacuated.


McAuley says a few more buses may possibly still come in to get some more stragglers, but time is running short.


McAuley adds crews continue to try and protect the town’s school and water treatment plant with sandbags.


He says remaining residents are trying to stay as optimistic as possible.


Meanwhile, SIAST Woodland Campus in Prince Albert is home to dozens of Cumberland House residents today.


Women, children and elders were all moved out of the northern community yesterday in the face of raging floodwaters.


Rose Dussion is one of the stranded refugees. She says she can’t believe how far the situation has deteriorated.


Dussion lives at the Pemmican-Portage split of the community and fears for her house and the welfare of her son, who’s elected to remain home on the reserve.


One Cumberland House resident still in his home village, Lennard Morin, says his community is looking pretty sparse, but notes the stores in town are still open.


Morin says he’ll probably stay as long as there is power.


Meanwhile, northern Saskatchewan’s Member of Parliament says if the situation gets bad enough in Cumberland House, he’ll press Ottawa for federal disaster assistance.


Jeremy Harrison says he’s pledged to local leaders that he’ll do whatever he can to ensure that disaster assistance will be available if and when it is needed.


However, in that scenario, Harrison says the provincial government will have to take the first step.


Harrison says he’s been in regular contact with leaders in the community, and will continue to monitor the situation.