The evacuation of Cumberland House is now complete, but the worst is yet to come for the northeast Saskatchewan community.
Flood waters from Alberta are still making their way to the community and it will be at least two weeks before they can go back home.
The North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan rivers are both running at flows not seen in more than a century.
They converge west of Cumberland House and feed Cumberland Lake which is slowly rising.
It is expected to peak next week, flooding out the only road into the community.
The last of the 2,200 evacuees left yesterday afternoon.
Duane McKay, the commissioner of emergency planning, says about a hundred people have stayed behind:
“Those people are made up of community officials that are there for security, maintenance on the structures and making sure the communities infrastructure remains operational. As well, there are contractors who will be building berms and putting other protective measures into place.”
Social Services is looking after about a thousand of the evacuees, placing them in shelters and hotel rooms in a number of communities — including Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Nipawin. Ministry spokesperson Linda Korney says it is team effort:
“Social services is working with the Red Cross and a large number of other agencies like the Salvation Army and are providing all the services within the shelters. This continues to be a real collaborative effort involving working with the band and village officials.”
Patrick Boyle with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency says peak flows of the North Saskatchewan river are now expected to be a little higher than earlier forecast, but he says communities downstream, including Prince Albert and North Battleford, have taken measures to protect their water supply intakes from the rising flood waters.
Peak flows of 3,000 cubic meters per second are expected tomorrow. That is about six times higher than normal.
Two RCMP officers are among those watching guard in Cumberland house. They are sending out pictures and communicating with the public via Twitter and Facebook this afternoon. Their Twitter site is @RCMPSK and @GRCSask. The Facebook site is “Saskatchewan RCMP”.