Today I can’t help but think of the thousands of people who have been forced from their homes because of the rising flood waters and the thousands of people who are giving of their time and energy to help in the flood fight. As a Winnipegger it’s easy to not give a thought to what’s happening to the west of the city because I’m safe, warm and dry within the protection of the floodway. But the reality is that many of our fellow Manitobans are suffering because of the relentless rain and flooding rivers.
As you may have heard in the news the province is planning a controlled breach near Portage la Prairie to release some of the water flowing down the swollen Assiniboine River. This action will affect hundreds of homes and acres of farmland. Some Manitoba farmers, including large vegetable producers, will lose valuable farmland. Provincial compensation will not begin to cover their losses. Most Manitobans don’t realize that this will have far-reaching impacts on our economy. This will probably mean less locally produced veggies in your supermarket. Rather the supermarkets will have to import more produce.
Livestock producers are also feeling the pain. Thousands of livestock have to be evacuated from certain areas because of flooding. Many producers are having problems finding enough feed for their animals, and this concern could extend into the summer. Some producers have already lost animals due to the extreme weather.
I realize that the province had a difficult decision to make. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. They hope that a controlled breach will prevent a massive flood to many more properties in the area. I suppose it’s a matter of sacrificing some for the greater good. But try telling that to the homeowners and farmers who are losing their homes and livelihoods.
As I was reading through the various media reports online about the flood I was reminded of a country song performed by the duo Sugarland. Here’s part of it:
Little Annie Vickers is boarding up windows
And her old dog is stranded on the Silos
Hey there Annie, don’t even think it
So much water and you can’t even drink it
How long ’til our dreams run dry
Don’t know but we’re staying
On our knees we raise our eyes
Holding on and praying to find
One blue sky
Now we’re digging in our heels hard as we can
But the backyard looks like Rio Grande
And I wonder will it wash us clean or wash us away
I’m praying for my fellow Manitobans and hoping that we’ll soon see blue sky.