Many refugees fleeing war in Ukraine or spring floods and summer wildfires are having to adjust to a new life in Winnipeg, whether for a few weeks, months or even years.
Cornelius the redhead is one of many evacuations Mathias Columb Cree Nation Staying in Winnipeg Hotels.
He’s trying to stay busy, volunteering to distribute donations among community members spread across the city.
But he is eager to go home and be reunited with his service dog, Bear. The pair split after a wildfire last week forced the community to leave.
“I couldn’t bring him … because the helicopter I got was already 210 lbs. overweight because they had to add extra fuel,” Redhead said.
“I wasn’t allowed to take him, so I had to take my service dog back home,” he told Global News on Monday. “I was lying on the floor with him back home, and I loved comforting him. Like, ‘I’m sorry I’m leaving you.’
On Sunday night, he found that his dearest friend was still alive.
“I cried for a while when I found out,” he said.
“As soon as power is restored back home, I can check my cameras to see how he’s doing.”
Some displaced are finding accommodation in poor condition
Although the redhead’s hotel stay is going well, he says it’s a frustrating and stressful life, while battling panic attacks on a daily basis.
He said the situation is taking a toll on others as well.
“Just a few people had bad experiences, not like many people, but more than a handful,” the redhead continued.
“A lot of people want to go home really badly, even if there’s no power,” the redhead said. “For me too, like I’m not used to it. I’m a bush kid.”
His niece Alia Linklater wanted to know why he was kept in a hotel crawling with cockroaches and small insects.
The mother of the one-year-old was kept in a room near the health science centre.
“I went to go to the bathroom. I lift the toilet seat, and we found a lot of cockroaches on the toilet seat, and they’re all running behind the toilet. There’s a hole in it with a swarm of cockroaches,” Linklater said on Sunday told Global News.
She said Linklater sought help on Friday after more insects were found on her young son, which had left bite marks on his head.
But Linklater went through a sleepless night on Saturday morning before relocating elsewhere, his fourth hotel since arriving in Winnipeg last week.
Linklater said through tears, “It was really tense, because you know, it happened to him when we first got here.”
On Friday, Caitlyn Brightnose with Mathias Columb Cree Nation told the media that other evacuees were going through similar circumstances.
He said some had found useless needles and dried blood.
“It’s no matter where you want to be treated or stay, being shuffled from hotel to hotel, and you’re being put in run-down places that are basically shit, like some of these There’s mold in the rooms,” Brightnose said.
In a statement on Saturday, the Canadian Red Cross said no more rooms were available because hotels were at capacity.
He said the evacuees could stay in a shelter the organization had opened at the University of Winnipeg until they could find more rooms.
Linklater said things were much better at the new hotel, but wanted to make sure no one else had the same bad experience again.
Winnipeg hotel rooms in short supply with floods, fire evacuations, Ukrainian refugees
Redhead Mathias is one of 2,000 evacuees from Columb, being supported by the Canadian Red Cross in Manitoba. Another 1,500 people evacuated from the Peguis First Nation flood still have not returned home since spring. This is because more Ukrainian refugees arrive in Winnipeg every day.
“Some days it’s about 10, 20, but some days it can go up to about 50 or 60,” said Nick Kravetz, a volunteer for the Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Manitoba.
The province says there are more than 460 hotel rooms currently booked for Ukrainian refugees — typically lasting two weeks on average, Kravetz said.
“We recognize that this is a very demanding time due to the flood situation and fire etc., and that is why our community is trying to help these newcomers as much as possible so that they can transition from the hotel as quickly as possible. can do.”
But the need will continue as the war in Ukraine continues, he said.
Canada’s Red Cross has been able to secure more hotel rooms in Brandon, Portage La Prairie, Thompson and Winnipeg over the past few days, a spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Monday.
“The Canadian Red Cross understands that members of the community evacuated from the Mathias Columb Cree Nation have gone through a stressful experience. Our team seeks to provide the best possible support to community members when they are out of their homes,” the organization said. This includes providing access to clean, safe housing.”
“We believe that no housing can replace the comfort of home, and the Red Cross will continue to work closely with community leadership to help meet the needs of community members as long as they can safely don’t come back.”
The redhead is just hoping he doesn’t have to live longer. He was told that he could return home in mid-August at the earliest.
Mathias Columb Cree Nation Forest Fire
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