Natasha Naccarato and her three kids, like many residents north of the Kenora by-pass had to evacuate their Coker road home back on May 12, 2022, due to overland flooding.
High water levels east of the Black Sturgeon Lake caused roadways on East Melick, Essex, and Coker Road and north of the Portier Bridge to either be washed out or submerged underwater, making travelling very unsafe.
The family left everything they had behind and evacuated, due to the worry of being stranded, as they were having trouble traveling through the high water even before they left. Naccarato says this evacuation has impacted her and her family more than they expected it to.
“My kids are very lost, we’re all very tired. Financially it’s been hard. Things I may have forgotten, or things you didn’t realize you needed,” says Naccarato in an interview with KenoraOnline on May 19, 2022. “I didn’t realize how long we would be evacuated for, so I felt as though I don’t have enough to keep us going.”
She adds her mental health has taken a toll through this whole evacuation process.
“I spent two days in tears, and red puffy eyes, and my kids asking me if we’re going to be okay? I’m just tired and exhausted and trying to work, and carry on life as normal as I can for the kids.”
Naccarato's husband stayed behind to protect their house from flooding and to take care of their three dogs and a cat.
“He’s chosen to stay because our basement is constantly flooding, and we felt as though someone should be home. Our dogs don’t leave where we live, they don’t do well leaving the home.”
Though their basement is flooding, she says her husband has been able to stay on top of it to protect it from further damage.
Naccarato and her kids have been bouncing around this past week between friends, and some family in town, which has caused some frustration as well.
“Having no answers to when we could go home, or how we’re going to get home. The Rec Centre, that’s the place where they were supposed to put the evacuees. It’s in a change room on a cot. Now I’m not going to sleep with my children, in a change room at the rec centre, on a cot. It’s not ideal and not humane.”
The city’s Director of Corporate Services, Heather Pihulak, says cots are available with blankets and pillows, and washrooms and showers are available for displaced residents. You will need to register at the front desk and provide proof of residency.
Kenora Fire and Emergency Services Chief, Kent Readman said on Thursday (May 19, 2022), no evacuees checked in.
On Friday (May 20, 2022), crews worked to build up the intersection of the East Melick and Essex Road intersection, to allow some residents to go home that night.
Upon completion the city will focus on the flooded area of East Melick Road that is 500m north of Bells Point Road, similar efforts will be made to raise the roadway to a safe level as has been completed near the Essex Road intersection.
Weather and water levels permitting, this work will take approximately one week.
Last week, city crews worked at building up Anderson Branch Road to protect it from further washouts and flooding.