Damage inspectors assess Fort Vermilion homes after Peace River flood
A drone shows some of the properties damaged by severe flooding in Fort Vermilion. May 1, 2020. (Mackenzie County)
EDMONTON -- Work is underway to get more than 450 people back into their homes in Fort Vermilion following devastating flooding from the Peace River.
Officials provided an update Friday on the hamlet community, which is about 330 kilometres northwest of Fort McMurray, where once-in-a-generation flooding has also subsided.
Mackenzie County issued a mandatory evacuation order for people living east of 50th street, north of the golf course, River Road and Boreal Housing, and all of North Vermilion.
With floodwaters receded, officials are now beginning to clean up roads and pump water from some localized floods in low-lying area.
The hamlet's water treatment plant is flushing lines to ensure water and sewer service is operational before people can return to their homes.
For a second day, inspectors took stock of homes to assess whether any were structurally damaged by water.
When residents are allowed to return home, they'll either see a green, yellow or red sticker on their homes that categorizes damage.
Red means the building it not safe for entry, yellow means it has sustained some damage and to enter with caution and green means there is no evident damage or hazards and the home is safe to re-enter.
In an update on northern Alberta flooding, Environment Minister Jason Nixon said he couldn't provide a timeline on when residents may be able to return home but said the goal is "as soon as possible."
A boil water notice remains in effect for Fort Vermilion until further notice.
In the Peace River, water levels near Fort Vermilion have fallen below levels seen before the ice jam break up.
The ice jam on the river is now 44 kilometres long after joining with another jam.
The head of the ice jam is now 20 kilometres upstream from Garden River, where around 750 people were evacuated April 28 by Little Red River Cree Nation.
Much of the community is staying in tents on higher ground.
Nixon said at least 400 people in the First Nation need shelter, supports and non-perishable food.
The government is working with Indigenous Services Canada, First Nations and Inuit Housing Branch to get supplies as well as tents, potable water and showers for evacuees.
More than 14,000 people in northern Alberta have been forced to evacuate their homes as a result of the floods in the Clearwater, Peace and Athabasca rivers.