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Premier confident but cautious as river peaks

By: The Canadian Press

 | Jul 09, 2014 - 3:20 PM |
Soldiers from 17 Wing in Winnipeg sandbag in St. Francois Xavier, Man., Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Several days of frantic sandbagging is paying off in southern Manitoba as a crest of flood water is expected to pour through the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Soldiers from 17 Wing in Winnipeg sandbag in St. Francois Xavier, Man., Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Several days of frantic sandbagging is paying off in southern Manitoba as a crest of flood water is expected to pour through the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. - Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger is sounding confident but cautious as the Assiniboine River reaches its peak near Portage la Prairie.

Selinger says dikes in the area are higher and drier than the last flood in 2011, but time will tell whether all the defences withstand the surging water.

Hundreds of military members, provincial staff and volunteers have been making sandbags and shoring up dikes since Selinger declared a state of emergency last week after heavy rainfall.

The river is expected to crest this afternoon in the Portage la Prairie area, and tomorrow downstream closer to Winnipeg.

Across the region, about 200 homes are considered vulnerable to the rising water.

Another 150 homes could be at risk if the province decides to cut a dike at the Hoop and Holler Bend to ease pressure on the river.

The premier has said that would be a last resort to prevent an uncontrolled breach downstream.

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