07/03/2013 06:00 EDT | Updated 09/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Many High River Residents Back; Others Face Longer Wait

CP/ Jeff McIntosh

HIGH RIVER, Alta. - Almost half the residents of the southern Alberta town of High River have been allowed back into the flood-damaged community.

The Alberta government says more than 6,000 people have already returned and more are being permitted into central High River — the last area where water has receded.

The rest of the population has to wait until a large section of town still under water can be pumped out and made safe — something officials have said could take three to five weeks.

Properties that are livable are being classified as "green" and those with little damage but needing cleanup or repairs are considered "yellow."

"Orange" is for homes that can't be occupied immediately because they are damaged and those classified as "red" are unsafe and may have to be demolished.

The entire town of about 13,000 had to flee floodwaters from the Highwood River on June 20.

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