The worst seems to be behind us when it comes to flooding and now the hardest hit areas in Saskatchewan have started the long process of recovery.
Individual areas are improving in their own ways. Estevan ended its state of emergency on Wednesday. The province said the roads will be opening soon in the Shoal Lake Cree Nation area, and the septic systems have caught back up to the water flows in Carrot Lake.
Arborfield was one of the hardest hit areas, but it’s getting back on its feet as well. As of 9 a.m. on Thursday morning the evacuation order had been lifted for the town, and by the end of the day all 36 residents who had to the leave the long-term care facility in the town were expected to be moved back.
Floating pumps were being used in Estevan, and all-terrain trucks and sand-bagging equipment were being used in Arborfield. Now provincial crews are focusing on cleaning up as the water recedes.
As of Thursday morning there were four areas still under a state of emergency including: Carrot River, Arborfield, the R.M. of Arborfield, and Shoal Lake Cree Nation.
Duane McKay with the Ministry of Government Relations said Carrot River and the Shoal Lake Cree Nation are expected to end their states of emergency in the next day or so.
McKay said the holdback road near Arborfield that breached on Tuesday will likely be rebuilt, though he said there will probably be an evaluation of the size of culverts and construction beforehand. Fixing the road could take the summer to finish.
Emergency Social Services with the province is taking care of 53 people including: 17 from Estevan, 24 for the Shoal Lake Cree Nation, eight from Arborfield, and four from the Red Earth Cree Nation.
The Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) has already stepped in to start helping. As of Thursday morning, 18 communities had applied for assistance, and of those, seven have been granted designation including: the R.M. of Arborfield, Carrot River, Estevan, the R.M. of Letonia, the R.M. of Mancota, Watrous and Yorkton.
PDAP is in the process of setting up recovery centres in the affected areas so people can get their claims started.
There is a recovery centre in Estevan open through the weekend at the Leisure Service Conference Room at 701 Souris Avenue. The centre will be open 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
PDAP is also in the process of getting a recovery centre set up in Arborfield, for Sunday at the earliest.