updated 4/14/2009 10:29:56 AM ET 2009-04-14T14:29:56

A rush of flood water and shifting slabs of ice have damaged some 200 homes along the Red River in midwestern Canada.

Officials said Monday the flood damaged ranged from near-total destruction to flooded basements. It wasn't immediately clear how many homes would be permanently uninhabitable.

"There are some homes that are still sitting under four feet of water and some homes that are not going to be livable again," said St. Clements Mayor Steve Strang, as he toured the hardest-hit areas of his sprawling rural municipality.

Crews have been battling the swollen Red River for weeks by using ice-breaking machines to try to keep the water flowing and setting down sandbags and dikes to protect properties.

Efforts were overwhelmed on the weekend when a sudden, massive ice jam sent a rush of water spilling over the banks about 12 miles south of where the river empties into Lake Winnipeg. Some 100 homes were evacuated. Sixty people had to be rescued, including a handful who climbed onto a rooftop to stay dry.

The Manitoba government promised disaster financial assistance to cover evacuation costs and losses not covered by insurance. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will observe the areas damaged by the flooding on Tuesday.

The ice jam moved downstream Monday and water levels were dropping, but officials were bracing for more trouble all along the Red River in the days and weeks to come.

It's not clear when the flood threat will ease. Recent heavy rains in North Dakota are expected to send a second crest downstream into Manitoba later this month. Officials expect the crest will still be well below community ring dikes, but rising levels were already swamping more farmland and rural roads south of Winnipeg.

The river has already flooded a lot of farmland and many roads south of Winnipeg, including the main highway between the capital city and the United States border.

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