Ice jam causing flooding in Fort McMurray decreases to 13km in size: officials

Officials with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo provided an update on the flooding situation in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Wednesday night that has forced thousands of people to leave their homes this week.

The ice jam at the root of the problem was 13 kilometres in size as of 8 p.m., officials said, seven kilometres shorter than it was at the same time the day before.

READ MORE: A closer look at how the Athabasca River ice buildup is flooding Fort McMurray

“Water levels on the Clearwater River, Athabasca River and Hangingstone River continue to fluctuate, but reports today show the water level is down across all three rivers in Fort McMurray,” officials said.

On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office issued a statement about the situation and said he spoke with Premier Jason Kenney “to discuss the spring flooding situation in northern Alberta and their deep concern for everyone affected.”

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The Prime Minister’s Office said Kenney gave Trudeau an update and told him what actions Alberta is taking.

“The prime minister indicated that the Government of Canada is closely following the situation, and stands ready to provide any federal assistance that is requested,” the PMO said. “The prime minister also assured Premier Kenney that the Government of Canada can assist Alberta with recovery and cleanup efforts.”

READ MORE: Jason Kenney announces emergency funding for northern Alberta flood evacuees

Earlier in the day, Kenney had announced emergency funding for those forced out of their homes due to flooding in the northern part of the province.

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He said emergency evacuation cash payments of $1,250 for adults and $500 for those under 18 would be available starting at noon on Monday, May 4.

READ MORE: 1 person dead amid flooding in northern Alberta

Eligible Albertans can apply for the funding on the government’s website. Kenney said the money would go straight into people’s bank accounts via e-transfer.

Flooding this week forced about 13,000 people from their homes in downtown Fort McMurray.

Initial assessments by local officials suggest 1,230 structures are affected by the flood.

–With files from Global News’ Caley Ramsay

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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