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More help needed for people, animals evacuated from Leaf Rapids due to wildfire

Residents of Leaf Rapids are needing more help, according to Indigenous leaders, after being evacuated due to a wildfire.

The town declared a state of emergency on Monday when the blaze broke out about eight kilometres away.

Since then, around 300 evacuees have been sent to Thompson, but leaders with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) say the province hasn't done enough to help them.

MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said people have been kept in the dark about where they're supposed to go and when they can return home.

"The way they've been received by the province is something that should not happen to anybody. It's very sad," he said.

Settee said there was no coordination when they arrived to Thompson and they were unsure on where they go and what they would eat.

He said residents walked around the city with their belongings while trying to figure out next steps.

"They're a community that is crying out for help and we've been trying to assist from day one to ensure they had food and they had places they could go to, but there was nobody to coordinate that."

Settee said the evacuees need financial support so they can get things like clothing and they also need to rest after a whirlwind week.

He added the people need to feel like someone is there for them.

In a statement to CTV News, a provincial spokesperson said Emergency Management Organization has started daily co-ordination calls to provide information.

They said nearly 400 people were transported out of Leaf Rapids and registered as evacuees and given accommodations and daily meals, an evacuation, communication and issue management group was established as well as an after-hours phone line and staff remained at the reception centre to provide information.


It's not just the people of Leaf Rapids who need help, animals who were evacuated and those that were left behind are also in need of food.

Nicole Frey, the founder of the Animal Food Bank, said she received a call from that support was needed for people's pets as well, as around 50 have registered as evacuated.

Frey said they are low on funds and food but she still spent around $600 of her own money to order food for the pets so they can get by for the next little bit.

She said she is working on trying to get a food of pallet up to the evacuees soon.

"I would love for that pallet to have about 1,000 pounds of food on it, a mix of cat and dog. So if we could get donations flowing into our drop off location…we'll put those on the pallet and ship it up," said Frey.

She said it has been a down time for all charities due to the economy, but any support will help the animals who made it out, as well as the ones that got left behind, noting other organizations will be able to get behind the evacuation lines when it is safe and the pets will be cared for.

With all the wildfires in Canada this year, Frey said she has already been able to ship 22 pallets and she knows more will be needed in the future.

Information on how to donate and where to drop off food can be found on the Animal Food Bank's website. Top Stories

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