Some evacuees settling in for possible long stay in Winnipeg Brandon

first_imgWINNIPEG – Hundreds of northern Manitoba residents forced to flee forest fires are heading home this week but most evacuees still have no idea when they might return.The Canadian Red Cross says the fire situation has improved near the Poplar River First Nation and 750 or so people who had to leave starting Aug. 11 are being flown back in small groups.But 5,000 others who were evacuated last week from three other Indigenous communities are still in Winnipeg and Brandon.The Manitoba government says a large forest fire burning near their communities is being held back but still poses a threat to the area.The Red Cross says now that the summer tourist season is over, hotel rooms have opened in Winnipeg and Brandon and many people are being moved out of large emergency shelters at a soccer facility and the Winnipeg Convention Centre.Regional vice-president Shawn Feely says about 600 people are staying in the two large shelters overnight.“What we’re finding is, people register and they’re directed to the shelter. Then they find their way to friends and family so they sleep at friends and families’ (homes) and they’ll go back to the shelter for services,” Feely said.The non-profit agency was looking at closing one of the shelters because of dropping numbers, but had not made a final decision Tuesday.The Red Cross has enlisted the help of other social agencies in Winnipeg to help provide entertainment and activities for the evacuees. Shuttle buses are running from the convention centre, which has no shower facilities, to the soccer facility to allow evacuees to clean up.Feely said there was no word on when the remaining evacuees could return to their homes in Wasagamack, Garden Hill and St. Theresa Point, but the convention centre and soccer facility are available for at least a few more weeks“There’s no pressure at this point in time,” Feely said.“If it continues on for a long period of time — and I’m not going to define a long period of time — then there’s obviously events booked in these facilities, so we will have to adjust our plans accordingly.”last_img

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