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Alberta Floods: Come Hell or High Water

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Alberta Floods: Come Hell or High Water

[caption id="attachment_2452" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="The "street" behind us the evening after the flood first hit."] [/caption] This past week was one that no one in Southern Alberta could have prepared for. We were hit with one of the biggest floods ever, worse than any Albertan could remember. My community of Bragg Creek, located about 40 kilometres west of Calgary, was one of the first hit, with the Elbow River swelling to at least three times its typical size, taking out trees, telephone poles and buildings in its wake. By some miracle, our home stayed dry even as it suddenly became riverfront property and neighbours' basements flooded around us. I had gone into Calgary earlier in the day and was turned away when I tried to return home. I was so worried about our dog, who was still at home. My husband wound up hiking 10km in sometimes waist-deep water to get to him. The things we do for our fur babies! We wound up being evacuated for three days and on our first day home, still did not have power or water. And yet, we were one of the lucky ones. Many people, less than a block away from us, lost nearly everything. Their homes need to be gutted; their belongings washed away. Amid all this destruction and sorrow, I was so touched to see how communities have banded together, how complete strangers offered up their homes and how so many volunteers have come to the aid of those most affected. And of course, the amazing emergency service workers who have worked tirelessly throughout this crisis. It is such outpourings of kindness that affirms my faith in the human spirit. Sure, there's been the odd looter and ignorant person ranting about why their kids' end-of-year activities at school have been cancelled.  (Hello, at least your kid still has a school, moron.) But the vast majority of people have been trying to figure out ways to help, and for their kids to help out too. If this isn't a teaching moment for your kids, I don't know what is. A friend of mine helped organize a community talent show and raised nearly $2500 for relief efforts. Other kids have held bake sales or simply  handed out bottled water and baked goods to volunteers. My husband had a teenage boy help him clear piles of debris from the river banks--heavy lifting in the rain with mosquitoes, and not once did he complain. Many business owners are offering free food and services, while others encourage their staff to take part in the clean-up rather than show up for work. Even the Calgary Stampede, amid its own massive clean-up before it kicks off in 10 days, has launched a fundraising effort--t-shirts proclaiming, "Hell or High Water". This flood has shown us the worst, but it has also unveiled the best, too. Donations to the relief effort may be made via the Red Cross.
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Alberta Floods: Come Hell or High Water

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