Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Calgary Flood: Cleaning Up Montgomery

The flooding is now considered the worst natural disaster in the history of Alberta and one of the most expensive natural disasters in the history of Canada. The horror stories I hear about the flooding in High River make it sound like wide swaths of the city will essentially be bulldozed.

We have been volunteering for a few hours every day this week to help clear out basements in affected neighbourhoods. The stake is sending out an army of volunteers tomorrow with about 40 wheelbarrows to help shovel all the mud that accumulated everywhere. The clean-up effort will take a very long time. They think they can re-open a lot of things within the next few weeks though. However, the area around the City Hall also got flooded enough to knock out power for much of the area. Even the city transit control center had to be moved to a temporary location, while the ctrain to the SE was out because the rail bed got washed away. Then to top it off, a rail bridge in the SE started sinking into the river this morning with several freight cars of gasoline on it, causing an evacuation of the area and a shut-down of Deerfoot Trail. I heard it took over 2 hours to drive just a few miles in that part of town.

R and her sister J went out to volunteer one evening. J had always wanted to go out and wear the yellow bib and help people in need. They came away feeling like they could have contributed more if they'd had the opportunity, but there were just SOOO many volunteers there. That's a nice problem to have in the midst of a disaster recovery effort -- having a surplus of volunteer manpower available.

It's a mess. However, the people here are determined to put on a good show this summer. The mayor has done a great job of bringing people together rather than pointing fingers. Quite an experience.

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