07/02/2011 12:06 EDT | Updated 09/01/2011 05:12 EDT

Manitoba Prepares For Souris River Flooding


CBC -- Canadian Forces personnel will join flood-fighting efforts in Souris, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger announced Saturday.

"The Town of Souris asked the provincial government for additional resources and, given the short time frame and the need to quickly mobilize resources, I authorized the request to the Department of National Defence for military support," Selinger said, announcing 200 troops will be involved.

"We know we can count on the military when we need their help," the premier said. "People in the community have been doing their best and we need to be sure we do all we can to prepare."

The community in southwestern Manitoba is building up its defences for the expected crest of the Souris River on July 5. Some dikes may have to be raised to a height of nearly four metres.

It is anticipated that the soldiers will begin work early this afternoon, the government said in a news release.

"On behalf of all Manitobans, and especially those whose property is at risk, I would once again like to thank the federal government for the immediate approval of our request for military support," Selinger said.

In Souris, the town's emergency co-ordinator Sven Kreusch said the Souris rose about 30 centimetres overnight.

"We're anxious, we want to get this [diking] complete," Kreusch told CBC News. "We don't want to run out of time we need to stay ahead of the game … it's a bit of a stress factor.

Nearly 200 people in Souris are already out of their homes.

Upriver in the town of Melita, Mayor Bob Walker says residents have done all they can to prepare for the imminent flooding.

Residents finished diking businesses and the town's sewer lift system, a major area of concern, two days ago, Walker said.

"We just have to hope the dikes we have established will be able to withstand it," the mayor said, "especially if the water levels are going to be up for any lengthy period."

So far, eight businesses have been evacuated in the town, leaving an estimated 80 employees out of work.