Helping Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation prepare for flooding

Topics: Manitoba
August 19, 2019

Helping Roseau River
In early spring 2019, it was clear to the officials of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation (RRAFN) that the community was going to be at risk for flooding.

Fortunately, the community had already started to plan for potential disasters with the help of the Canadian Red Cross. Now that it looked like a flood was imminent, the leadership of Roseau River built on pre-existing plans to create a strategy for dealing with potential flooding from the Red River.

Months beforehand, the First Nation had been working with the Red Cross team to help develop their emergency response plan. They helped to highlight the community’s assets and identified potential risks during particular disasters.

With this work already started, the First Nation leadership and the Red Cross ramped up their efforts to ensure that the community of Roseau River would be ready if it was impacted by a flood in the spring.

“Red Cross has been really helpful in helping us with our emergency response plan,” said RRAFN Chief Craig Alexander. He noted that in the weeks leading up to flooding season, the Red Cross team had been in the community once a week to work on preparations for a potential disaster.

Zongidaya Nelson, RRAFN’s Emergency Coordinator, said the work with the Red Cross has been very positive. While Roseau River has been through this before, Nelson noted the preparation work the Red Cross team has done with both community leadership and residents has greatly helped to ease the fears of the First Nation membership heading into a potential flood.

As part of the work with Roseau River, the Red Cross held a meeting for all members of the community to learn about personal emergency preparedness and what they can do to be ready to leave their homes on a moment’s notice if disaster strikes.

Nelson added that as the team worked with the Red Cross to develop its Emergency Response Plan, Red Cross helped the First Nation navigate bureaucracy to ensure readiness.

For Chief Alexander, this collaboration has meant his First Nation is ready if a disaster impacts his community. “We’ve been well prepared with the assistance of the Red Cross,” said Chief Alexander. “We really appreciate Red Cross’s help and it’s been a really positive relationship.”

Manitoba 2018-2019 Report Back to Communities
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