Life as a flood evacuee

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Carla L. (Grade 11)

My name is Carla. I am a 16-year old student from Morris, Manitoba. I am a victim of the flood of 1997. This is my story...

Since January, some residents of the Red River Valley have been worried about the Flood of the Century. During these last weeks, their worries have become a reality.

On the morning of March 28th, my parents informed my four siblings and me that we would be leaving within the next week.

Many of my friends live out of town, and because I was leaving Morris during Spring Break, I wouldn't see them at school before I left. It was really hard to say good-bye. These people had been with me through the hardest times of my life, and at the moment, I don't even know where most of them are.

My family left Morris two weeks before the required evacuation. We decided to come to Winkler, Manitoba, because we have many family here. At the moment, we are staying in a duplex in Winkler.

My family decided to leave early because we are a family of seven. Evacuation was a strong possibility and my parents had already been looking for a place for approximately a month. When they were informed there was a large enough place available, they took it.

I saw our new home for the first time on Tuesday, April 1. On Friday, April 4, we started moving some of our furniture to Winkler. However, we only got half of our stuff moved here because the Snow Storm of the Century hit. That was really bad when people were preparing for the Flood of the Century. We couldn't get around in Winkler for four days, let alone get back to Morris. My dad and I finally got back to get the rest of our furniture on the following Thursday.

I started school at Garden Valley Collegiate in Winkler on April 9. I also started attending a church and a youth group here. The first time I attended Youth, we went sandbagging on a farm near Rosenort. As it turned out, my parents were friends with one of the owner's brothers. They had gone to school with him. The family also went to the same church in Morris as my family did.

When we went to Rosenort, I was shocked, because when I was in Morris on the previous Saturday, the water was over its banks, but not too high. By Wednesday in Rosenort, the flood waters had already reached the same levels as the 1996 spring flood. Two days later, on April 25, Morris was on mandatory evacuation. My grandpa came to stay with us. My uncle, however, is with the Volunteer Fire Department, so he stayed behind to help with the flood efforts. He was forced to evacuate about a week ago. The Red River crested a few days ago and the waters have receded a few inches. However, we now have rain and high winds to contend with.

This has been both a scary and exciting experience. It has been hard because I had to leave old friends in Morris and fit into a new school. I no longer have a part-time job and regular spending money. I have also worried about my home and uncle in Morris. On the other hand, I have made many new friends and gotten to see what it is like living in a new community. With all of the support and help pouring in from around Canada, I am even prouder to be Canadian. It is really great to see how much Canadians care about us.

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