Peguis First Nation members thankful for community meal after difficult year of flooding, COVID-19

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As many as 400 folks gathered in Peguis First Nation on Sunday to take pleasure in a Thanksgiving meal collectively, taking inventory of the issues they’re grateful for after a really difficult year.

More than 5 months after 2,100 community members had been evacuated from the First Nation in Manitoba’s Interlake space on account of extreme flooding, greater than folks 800 are nonetheless out of their houses, mentioned Chief Glenn Hudson.

“It’s actually nice to all be collectively now,” band councillor Glenis Sutherland mentioned.

“With the COVID and the flood and we nonetheless have many evacuees out within the metropolis and completely different locations, so it is very nice to see everybody out right here at present and popping out to take pleasure in a home-cooked meal.”

She mentioned a quantity of girls within the community got here collectively to prepare dinner for their fellow members, providing a free meal and an opportunity to meet up with pals.

Glenis Sutherland mentioned it was great to see so many community members collectively having fun with themselves after a tricky couple of years. (Thomas Asselin/Radio-Canada)

Peguis member Cyndi Prince attended the meal and says the flooding was difficult for so many in her household.

“It tore loads of folks aside, and it nonetheless does. It’s very unhappy, nevertheless it’s superior to have community come collectively and be collectively and speak with each other once more,” she mentioned.

Hudson says these 800 members who’re nonetheless in inns may also get Thanksgiving meals, however management wished to do one thing particular for those that are again at house.

“People have been by way of loads of trauma with the flooding and clearly with the pandemic, there wasn’t many gatherings. So this permits them to really feel extra comfy in a community setting,” he mentioned.

Seth Whitford, 22, lays sandbags in Peguis First Nation in a May file photograph. The First Nation suffered brutal flooding in 2022 and Chief Glenn Hudson says it wants help from the provincial and federal governments to make sure they’re ready for the following one. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

On May 1, native officers issued a compulsory evacuation order, because the river washed out roads and breached dikes.

Some community members stayed behind to function tiger dams, sandbag and do no matter they might to guard folks’s houses.

Since then, Hudson says loads of the cleanup work has taken place, however the largest mission has but to be accomplished.

The chief says he is nonetheless ready for the provincial and federal governments to sit down down and work out a plan for stopping future floods from taking place.

A playground is surrounded by floodwaters on Peguis First Nation on May 6. The waters have receded across the Interlake community, however the chief says greater than 800 persons are nonetheless in inns as a result of their houses are uninhabitable. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

“The essential factor is to improve so we do not have our community come to a standstill throughout flooding and that is what we’re ready to hold out,” Hudson mentioned.

“It hasn’t been the best, I’ll say, the help … Today we’re we’re ready on a [memorandum of understanding] to sign with the federal authorities and placing collectively working teams with the province, however that also has but to occur.”

Even after floods in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2014 and now this year, Peguis nonetheless does not have everlasting flood safety for all of the 3,053 individuals who dwell within the community.

CBC News has requested remark from the provincial and federal governments, however did not instantly obtain a response.

All different communities within the Red River Valley — together with smaller centres like Morris, Emerson, St. Adolphe and Roseau River First Nation — are protected by ring dikes constructed excessive sufficient to maintain floodwaters out.

“We need to do the identical with our community our First Nation right here and that is one thing we’re working towards proper now,” Hudson mentioned

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