Southern Alberta has been devastated by floods and rising river waters over the last week leaving the City of Calgary, and many surrounding areas, in a state of emergency.
Most significant is a large amount of rainfall — up to 200 millimetres in some places. Add in ground that is already saturated because of some more modest precipitation — about 40 millimetres — preceding the deluge. Combine that with areas that were still frozen not far below the surface and a local geography that encourages water to run down hill quickly, and there’s a recipe for this week’s devastation… On June 20, Calgary experienced record one-day rainfall with 45 millimetres coming down. The previous record was 35.1 millimetres, set in 1964… [Source: CBC]
Slowly looking on as the river rises and the city shuts down, watching the murky water fill the streets, and then waiting and waiting for it to retreat — all while power is cut and supplies run low. This has been an incredible situation for hundreds of thousands of people affected in Alberta (including Banff, Canmore, Red Deer, and more) with highways and bridges washed out, disconnecting communities.
The Canadian Red Cross has teams from across the country have been working around the clock to help those in Alberta. As a member of their Social Team, they have kept me (and the others who are all across Canada) in the loop when it comes to spreading the word about the work they are doing and what might help the most.
Here’s the latest from the Canadian Red Cross:
- The Red Cross is responding in Alberta, helping in shelters by providing support from our volunteers, as well as cots, blankets, hygiene kits and other items that will help those evacuated feel safe and comfortable.
- In disasters like this, a lot of times families get separated from one another, or can not contact each other, so the Red Cross sets up a registry for anyone in shelters. We also have a family reunification line where people can call if they need help locating loved ones.
- At reception centres in Alberta, Red Cross volunteers are working to give people affected by the flooding information they might need – ie, where can they get other supports, how do they contact insurance companies, etc.
- The Red Cross is also working to support various First Nations communities that have also been affected.
- Across Canada, our teams have mobilized and volunteers from begun deploying. It’s an all-hands-on-deck kind of situation. Our volunteers are highly trained and ready to work in these situations.
- We get a lot of questions from people wanting to donate clothes, food or other items. The Red Cross does not have the capacity to accept these kinds of gifts, but we can refer you to other agencies that can.
- The best way to support the Red Cross is through a financial donation by calling 1-800-418-1111 or by texting REDCROSS or ROUGE to 30333, texting ABHELP to 4664 for Rogers customers. You can also donate online.
The Red Cross strongly encourages Albertans impacted by flooding to heed the warnings of officials. Updated information on evacuations is listed on the Alberta Emergency Alert website as well as the City of Calgary website. Follow the Canadian Red Cross on Twitter and Facebook for more information about their work and how you can help.