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Evacuation Continues for SCN

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The land around Sapotaweyak Cree Nation continues to burn from a number of human caused wild fires that were started near the community.
Officials from Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization ordered a limited evacuation of the elderly, people with medical conditions, and those with young children on May 20, which the Canadian Red Cross was helping to orchestrate.
“The Canadian Red Cross team was able to respond very quickly to the First Nation’s request for evacuation support and the community members were able to get out safely,” said Vice-President of Manitoba and Nunavut Canadian Red Cross Shawn Feely in a press release. “We are now working closely with First Nation leadership to provide necessary support to the evacuees while they are displaced from their homes.”
However, since the evacuation began, it has also grown with the smoke and blazes and the entire community of nearly 1,400 have now had to leave their homes behind.
“The fire was five kilometers long,” said Sapotaweyak Chief Nelson Genaille. “It’s grown considerably and now we’re trying to maintain control.”
Twenty-one community members, including Chief Genaille, remained in the community to protect the houses and help out wherever they could.
“Everyone’s doing a good job,” said Genaille. “The firefighters, EMO, DNR, RCMP, and local volunteers are assisting with house maintenance.”
As of the May 26 update, one of the four fires was deemed under control, another being held and the final two still classified as out of control.
Recent rain and high humidity assisted suppression efforts on fires near the community of Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, but the community remains evacuated and without power due to damage from the fires.
While everyone remains connected to media sources for continual updates, The Red Cross is providing lodging, food and personal support to evacuees of Sapotaweyak Cree Nation as they will remain in Swan River, The Pas, and Brandon, until their homes are safe to return to.
Since Red Cross disaster assistance to First Nations is supported by the federal government, the expenses for the response is covered. Anyone wishing to make a donation to help the Red Cross prepare to assist Manitobans impacted by future disasters can go to www.redcross.ca or call 1·800·418·1111.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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