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Residents sandbag Ruckle in advance of predicted Saturday flood

Residents were allowed back in for 12 hours on Thursday.
A resident sandbags a home in Ruckle on Thursday. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

About 100 residents living in the Ruckle neighbourhood were permitted to go home for a period yesterday in anticipation of a second wave of flooding on Saturday.

The RDKB announced late Wednesday night that residents would be allowed in the neighbourhood, which was badly hit by flooding, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday to gather personal belongings and do additional flood preparations on their homes and in the neighbourhood.

Volunteer coordinator Jessica Mace said Thursday that about 100 residents, as well as several hundred volunteers jumped into the neighbourhood to sandbag yesterday.

“There was a lineup of trucks full of sandbags at 7 a,m.,” she said.

Mace also added that residents had organized amongst themselves to arrange where to sandbag, with the acknowledgement that not everything could be sandbagged, so how best to protect the neighbourhood.

Some residents indicated they would choose not to leave the neighbourhood again, which Emergency Operations Centre liasison Dan Derby spoke strongly against, noting there were safety threats to residents as well as any first responders who may later have to be called in.

Several other residents indicated they would be leaving at the end of the day as power and water are off in the area.

The neighbourhood has been on evacuation order since last Friday, when a dike broke in the early morning. While water had drained from the southern part of the neighbourhood, much of the northern area remains under water.

Volunteers, security and RCMP were present on site Thursday throughout the day, asking residents to check in should they enter the neighbourhood. No children and no pets were permitted in.

Peaks in the Boundary are expected Saturday, and RDKB officials are warning residents to stay away from riverbanks amid increasing concerns for bank stability due to erosion and sloughing.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces also arrived in Grand Forks early Friday morning to assist in operational tasks including filling sandbags, using equipment to access flooded areas, and planning for recovery after the next wave of flooding is over.