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Manitoba expects worst floods in 300 years

May 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, May 12 (UPI) -- Canada's central province of Manitoba braced Thursday for the worst seasonal flooding in 300 years, local officials said.

All of the rivers in the southern part of the province are flooding and the Assiniboine River is among the worst -- still days away from cresting as waters creep toward the city of Brandon, the Winnipeg Sun said.

Earlier this week, emergency officials said they would deliberately breach a dike to ease backwater levels but that was postponed, the Winnipeg Free Press said.

Provincial Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said it was a reluctant decision that would likely flood 150 homes while at the same time sparing 850 others, the reports said.

Ashton said a dike along the Assiniboine River could still be broken to allow as much as 6,000 cubic feet per second to flow downstream.

As many as 1,000 Canadian soldiers and reservists were deployed late last week to build sandbag dikes in flood-prone communities and thousands of people have evacuated their homes, the newspaper said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper flew over rural and agricultural areas already flooded and said he had assured provincial authorities the federal government would assist in disaster relief funding.

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