Flooding and ice hit Canadian province

The Canadian province of Manitoba has been battered by frozen floodwater this week, with the deluge causing havoc and claiming lives.

The spring thaws are part of the natural cycle in the central Canadian province but this year the scale has been unusual, leading to extensive damage, loss of property and widespread evacuations.

A 79-year-old woman has been killed by the floods after her car was swept into a river.

Heavy rain and snow fall has combined with ice jams – a situation where ice that has built up during the cold winter months begins to thaw and is washed downstream where it builds up to cause natural dams, choking the river flow – to create a level of flooding not seen for a decade.

The problems started at the end of March but have been building over the past two weeks.

Emergency services have been working round the clock to build flood defences and evacuate those in high-risk areas, with volunteers joining the flood-fighting efforts by helping to fill sandbags.

There have been several dramatic rescues with residents trapped by flood water whisked to safety.

The authorities believe the water levels will crest towards the end of this week and say they are confident that, while the floods remain a threat, there will not be a repeat of the Red River flooding of 1997, the worst since 1826, which caused over $3.5bn of damage, hitting the provincial capital of Winnipeg as well as rural areas.

Sam Bond

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