WINNIPEG – Many band members have been able to return to their homes on Long Plain First Nation a week after a tornado tore through the reserve.
But 137 of what was once nearly 600 evacuees will still be holed up in hotels for a while.
Right now, many of them are in Winnipeg but will be moved to a hotel in Portage la Prairie with the help of the Canadian Red Cross.
Long Plains Chief Dennis Meeches says the cleanup is about 80 per cent complete, but a lot of hard work remains to be done.
“We’ve had hundreds of trees that were brought down, a lot of yards and roads were affected. Our preliminary estimate was that 57 homes were severely damaged. A lot of wind damage, a lot of damage done to interiors with flooding and sewer backups. That is one of the challenges we are facing.”
Meeches didn’t have any hard numbers in terms of total damage done as insurance reps are currently going through the area, but he believes it’s likely “in the millions.”
He also mentioned that while some of the remaining evacuees could be back home in a month, for others it could take as many as five or six months.
Earlier today Meeches met with band members who were staying in a Winnipeg hotel, and he says there were lots of questions but people are handling the situation well.
“There was a lot of concern, our young people experienced some trauma with this so we made sure there was services available for them. I think people are starting to accept what happened and gaining their strength back. Our people are very resilient.”
Meeches also expressed concern that this kind of storm is the result of climate change and that storms of great severity could become a lot more common in coming decades.