Kiiwetinoong NDP Sol Mamakwa is calling on provincial leaders to step up and support residents in northwestern Ontario, with some leaving their homes and belongings due to evacuation orders in the Kenora area.

In a prepared statement, Mamakwa is calling for provincial resources to be dispatched immediately to assist families and communities facing recent extreme flooding conditions. Kenora and Red Lake have both declared a state of emergency, which allows municipalities opportunities to access provincial assistance with the situation.

“Families are being evacuated in Kenora, and the only road to Red Lake, a community of 5,000 people, has been washed out while highways across the northwest are closed after being flooded. At Couchiching First Nation, people are sandbagging the shoreline in some places, and docks are floating away all around Rainy Lake.”

The City of Kenora issued an Evacuation Order for all residents north of the by-pass on May 13, as rising water levels continued to wash out and sweep away roads in the East Melick and Essex Road areas.

“Families are facing damage to their homes and communities are being cut off from the supply of essential goods as their roads are being washed out by floodwaters. This is a result of extreme weather conditions in the northwest and the situation is expected to get worse.”

In Red Lake, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry upgraded its flood warning to a flood watch for the community on May 17, warning that flood conditions are favourable with more rain in the forecast. The notice will stay in effect until May 23 at the earliest.

"We are calling for action on every provincial resource that communities need now to protect families and their homes from damage due to flooding. The extreme conditions of climate change are being felt by the people of Kiiwetinoong, Kenora-Rainy River and the Northwest today. They need every assistance possible to help them through it.”

The Kenora Recreation Centre continues to serve as an Evacuation Site for the time being. Sandbags for city residents are available at Fire Station 1, and non-residents can find sandbags at the Ministry’s Robertson Street office.

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry says sandbags are available at Red Lake’s Public Works Garage between Monday and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.