Flood Clean-Up Kit

Date / Period
Southern Manitoba
Object Type
Canadian Red Cross
Disaster Management Fundraising and Communications

In the spring of 1997, Manitobans were forced from their homes when the Red River spilled over during the area's worst flood since 1852.

At the flood crest, the flow of the Red River hit an astonishing 138,000 cubic feet per second, over half of which was diverted around Winnipeg by the Red River Floodway. Over 8.1 million sandbags were filled and delivered to Manitoba and 70,000 volunteers mobilized in addition to 7,000 military personnel to help prevent flood damage and relocate a total of 25,450 evacuees.

The Canadian Red Cross was also on the ground immediately, helping those in need and creating a registry for evacuees. Flood clean-up kits such as this one were distributed to those who needed them. Each kit includes a mop, sponges, brooms, gloves and other supplies that can be used to safely clean flood-damaged homes and property.

Fundraising immediately took off through the Manitoba Flood Appeal to help offset roughly $51 million in flood damages. Individuals and businesses raised over $500,000 after just three days and then the rest of Canada began chipping in, until $17 million was raised.

After initial aid was distributed, a remaining $12 million was used for Phase 2 of the Red Cross response, dubbed ‘Operation Homecoming’ to help people get into their homes faster.

Those whose homes were torn down were eligible for a $10,000 grant with possible additional financial assistance based on need (roughly 100 qualified). If the home was habitable without reconstruction, residents were eligible for a $6,000 grant as well as possible additional assistance.

Thirty pairs of Red Cross representatives with social work backgrounds visited flood victims to assess what the victims needed based on what aid they already received and the damages incurred. This process went on until all $12 million was spent. 

In addition to monetary funds, help came in many forms from across Canada. A Montreal business sent a truckload of cleaning supplies to Manitoba; the Canadian Dairy Commission donated 20,000 pounds of butter to flood victims; Manitoba Milk Producers, in co-operation with Beatrice Foods and Dairyland processors donated 80,000 litres of milk; a group of unemployed fishermen from New Brunswick traveled to Manitoba to help with the flood cleanup; a Calgary man who won $150,000 in the lottery donated a fifth of his winnings to flood relief efforts; and Canadian actor Tom Jackson raised $3 million during a fundraiser for the Red Cross.

Flood Clean-Up Kit

Flood Clean-up Kit
Support Flood Clean-Up Kit 1

Actor, singer and activist Tom Jackson created a beautiful tribute to the Red Cross. He describes his work in support of our humanitarian efforts in Canada and around the world, and what inspired him to get involved.

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