MGEU members respond to flood emergency in Southeastern Manitoba
"Water is everywhere. Homes are islands and farmers’ fields look like lakes right now.” - Michelle Gawronsky
Jun 10, 2020
Some Manitobans in Southeastern Manitoba have been forced from their homes due to severe flooding caused by up to 155 millimetres of rain in the area over the past few days.
The RMs of Stuartburn and Piney have declared local states of emergency, while provincial workers – including those from the Emergency Measures Organization, Manitoba Infrastructure, and Manitoba Hydro – are in the region assisting local authorities and residents.
Some residents have been evacuated, homes flooded, and many roads in the area are damaged or have been completely washed out.
As a resident in Vita for more than 40 years, MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky, says she has never seen flooding this bad in the area before.
“I came into town last night and I couldn’t believe the situation. Water is everywhere. Homes are islands and farmers’ fields look like lakes right now.”
Gawronsky says MGEU members from EMO and Manitoba Infrastructure have been out working since the flooding began, but she is worried that cuts and privatization in recent years to department’s like Infrastructure could impact the Province’s ability to respond to future flooding emergencies.
“Thank goodness we still have public highways workers because they’re here right now along with our EMO members helping residents and the RMs. What would we do without them?”
Gawronsky also says that as the water recedes residents and farmers in the area are going to continue to need a lot of support from the province.
“Farmers just seeded their crops, so they’re going to need support from
MASC [Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation]. “When a catastrophe like
this hits, we’re reminded why it’s so important to have our public services
fully staffed and ready – because whether it’s a pandemic or a flood, we don’t
know when the next emergency is coming. That’s why we have to invest in these
services, not cut them.”