Crews seek clean up aid

Saskatchewan is pleading for anyone with “a strong back and a willing heart” to help the province dig out from a series of devastating storms.

REGINA — Saskatchewan is pleading for anyone with “a strong back and a willing heart” to help the province dig out from a series of devastating storms.

Duane McKay, the province’s fire commissioner, says emergency services has pulled in all their resources to deal with disasters across Saskatchewan.

But McKay says volunteers are needed to move debris in Yorkton, where about 1,000 homes were damaged after heavy rain flooded basements and turned streets into canals last Thursday.

Manpower is needed to help people “restore their lives a little bit,” McKay said in a conference call Monday.

“A strong back and a willing heart is probably what we’re needing right now. It’s basically removing whatever was in somebody’s basement out and into dumpsters to be transported out or trying to salvage those things,” he said.

The flood has forced about 175 people from their homes.

The water has receded but the damage is still being assessed. McKay said Monday there is “an increased level of emotion” as people try to cope with the disaster.

“People are more concerned now about, ’What do I do next’ and so we’re seeing that begin to come forward in the community.”

Yorkton residents aren’t alone with their worries.

More than 70 Saskatchewan communities have declared states of emergency due to bad weather.

Severe flooding last month in Maple Creek, in southwestern Saskatchewan, flooded basements and collapsed a portion of the Trans-Canada Highway. Last Wednesday, Saskatoon had what its mayor called “one of those one-in-100-year floods” when the city got 80 millimetres of rain in three hours.

At least 100 people have been left homeless near the town of Raymore and on the Kawacatoose First Nation, where a tornado touched down Friday.