July 8, 2013 – Recovery from catastrophic flooding in southern Alberta continues. A provincial state of emergency remains in place and it is expected that it will take months and years for many families and subdivisions to recover from the disaster.
Here is an update on what is happening in the most affected areas:
High River: Interim housing has been found for 436 residents and more temporary housing is being constructed. Three subdivisions – east central Sunshine, the Hamptons and Nesson remain flooded and pumps are running 24/7 to get rid of the muddy and toxic water. They remain extremely dangerous. Parts of the Hamptons are under almost 4 metres of water and the water is lowering by only 15 cm per day. The hard-hit area of Wallaceville is mostly dry and inspectors have been through that area, noting a great amount of deep mud, structural damage and debris. High River remains under a boil water advisory. A local Welcome Centre has been set up as a one-stop shop for relief, trauma counselling and supplies. It has a continuing need for donations of rubber boots, shovels, disposable coveralls, rubber gloves, second-hand tools, mosquito repellent and dollies to move heavy items like appliances and furniture. Residents can apply at the Welcome Centre for Disaster Recovery Funding.
Many families attending High River Baptist Church have lost homes and most have had significant water damage to their homes. The church itself, which had 5 feet of water in its sanctuary, has been inspected by an insurance adjuster. The kitchen floor and the floor of the stage in the sanctuary have collapsed and the church remains too dangerous for members of the congregation to enter. Please continue to pray for Pastor Jason Johnson and other staff at the church, as well as the whole congregation as they come to terms with the devastating losses they have suffered and begin to move forward towards recovery with hope.
Calgary: The flood damage from the June 20th flooding was made worse on July 5 by heavy rains that saturated many low-lying areas of Calgary. Despite this setback, the State of Emergency that was lifted July 4 remains lifted. The Municipal Emergency plan remains in effect as the city transitions from city-wide disaster response to a localized response. The city has been able to close some of its reception centres. Most of the 75,000 residents who were evacuated from 25 areas of the city have been allowed to go home but 5 shelters remain open to house 2,500 people.
Many residents of the Mission area south of Calgary’s centre remain evacuated. It took almost 2 weeks, but downtown Calgary has now had its power restored after the devastating flooding that began June 20th. The Calgary Stampede has gone on as planned, although extensive damage to the Saddledome meant major concerts associated with the Stampede had to be cancelled. The city’s early estimates are that the repairing the damage will cost upwards of $250 million to repair the transit system, the police headquarters, libraries, sports complexes and many other facilities. It will take billions more to repair the damage to homes. The Calgary Zoo remains shut with hundreds of staff laid off indefinitely.
No Calgary area churches have been flooded but many members of many congregations have been impacted. Awaken Church which is in the Bowness area close to some of the major flooding is actively reaching out to its neighbours who have suffered losses in this area of town. Other churches were affected by power outages and evacuation orders and have been active in helping with recovery efforts.
The CBWC office, which is located downtown had its power restored July 3 but struggled for a few more days to get internet connectivity going. The office itself suffered no water damage. We are thankful for God’s many mercies during this difficult time.
Canmore: Cut off and virtually an island because of flooding from the Bow River and Cougar Creek, Canmore is now assessing the damage to property, particularly in the Cougar Creek and Silver Creek areas that were hardest hit. No homes actually fell into Cougar Creek but many have been badly undermined and will have to be torn down. The mudslides that closed the Trans-Canada highway have been cleared and the boil water advisory has been lifted for most of Canmore.
Pastor Trevor Sato of Mountain Baptist Church in Canmore said, “Similar to what we have witnessed in other communities, the people of the Bow Valley have shown overwhelming support, generosity, and helpfulness during this time, and it has been a blessing to see common grace manifest in unselfishness and love of neighbor.”
Please continue to pray for southern Alberta and the hardest hit communities that the flood victims can begin to find hope and begin the long journey of recovery. Pray that local churches will find ways to reach out with God’s compassion and love in practical and helpful ways.
If you would like to make a donation to the CBWC’s Disaster Relief Fund, contact the CBWC’s head office in Calgary.