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Thunder Bay, ON, residents were hit by a deluge of rain in late May, which flooded homes and also flooded the city’s sewer processing plant. Damage to the pumps caused them to fail and sewage was unable to be processed. This pump failure cause sewage to back up in well over 2000 homes in the city. Although MDS has no constituency in the immediate area, volunteers from up to 18 hours away in Ontario, and also from Manitoba arrived in the area at the invitation of the Emergency Operations Committee of the city to help with clean-up. MB Unit Chair Dan Klassen and Region V Manager, Janet Plenert, also traveled to Thunder Bay to investigate the scope of MDS’ response. MDS investigators saw homes that had only one inch of sewage, but most homes had eight inches to three feet of sewage flow into the basement.
"Everyday someone told us that they had heard the Mennonites were coming, and they thanked us for our presence and help." said Janet Plenert, Region V (Canada) Manager for MDS.
Volunteers are being scheduled through the Region V MDS office in Winnipeg. The city will provide accommodations in an arena for volunteers, and the Salvation Army will provide food.
The work will range from small disinfecting jobs, to major gutting, cleaning and disinfecting jobs. The sewage/water had already been pumped out of all the homes the investigators say. Most basements will be gutted as a result of the contamination. Hundreds of homes reportedly have no insurance, or their insurance will not to cover this type of flood. Work is expected to continue through the end of June.
MDS volunteers are known for repairing and rebuilding homes damaged by disasters. But it takes more than construction skills to serve with MDS. During the time that you serve as a volunteer, you will learn that MDS also restores lives.
Your contribution will help to connect volunteers with disaster survivors who need assistance on their path to recovery. MDS depends on the support of people who believe that disaster response is an important part of helping those who are in need.
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