Thunder Bay flooding prompts national appeal for help
'Full recovery will take time – days and even weeks,' says mayor of northwestern Ontario city
A Canada-wide appeal for financial donations for flood victims in Thunder Bay is underway as the city tries to cope with the devastating effect on residents and many homes with basements knee-deep in water.
Important contact numbers:
- City contact for offers of assistance and requests for help – 98 FLOOD or firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more information visit www.thunderbay.ca/flood
- Donations to the Thunder Bay Disaster Assistance Relief Fund can be made at: The Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre, 500 River St. The Canada Games Complex Volunteer Pool Churchill Pool The Victoriaville Civic Centre Cashiers, 111 Syndicate Ave. S.
- Only donations to the Disaster Relief Fund will be matched by the Province.
- Donations can also be made to the Salvation Army, 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or to the Canadian Red Cross – 1-800-418-1111. Donate online: www.redcross.ca and follow the Thunder Bay link.
- For electrical problems or concerns - Thunder Bay Hydro – 343-1111 or after hours 343-1002
- Infrastructure & Operations – 625-2195 – to report flooding or for questions or concerns about city roads and other city infrastructure
- Insurance Bureau of Canada — 1-800-387-2880 ext. 4700 — for information about insurance policies, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- CAM Clothing Assistance for low- or no-cost clothing, linens and some furniture — 474-3583
- Ministry of Transportation – 511 – for information about provincially-owned highways
- 211 for general information and details on reception centre
- 911 should only be called if there is an emergency
The Salvation Army and The Canadian Red Cross have launched national appeals to assist residents during this unprecedented flood.
"Thunder Bay residents have always been extremely generous to Canadians and people in other countries during natural disasters and emergencies," said Mayor Keith Hobbs in a press release.
"We’re hoping to receive similar assistance to deal with the result of the extreme amount of rain."
Known as the Thunder Bay Flood Fund, the national appeals will help homeowners recoup some of the costs of dealing with this emergency.
"Hopefully we will see an influx of donations to remove some of the burden off people who are coping with the cost of clean up and other concerns," said Major Merv Halvorsen of The Salvation Army.
To donate to the Flood Fund through the Salvation Army call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769) or visit www.salvationarmy.ca. To donate to the Canadian Red Cross call 1-800-418-1111, email email@example.com or visit www.redcross.ca.
Hobbs also said he will request a special council meeting Wednesday to approve a resolution directing the city manager to take all necessary actions to secure financial assistance for city flood victims. Hobbs said the city knows of about 1,000 basements flooded due to this week's rains.
Discussions are ongoing with the provincial and federal governments. The resolution is required to proceed further with formal requests.
City administrators said there has been an outpouring of community support and offers of help, but now there needs to be a co-ordinated effort. The city and partner agencies are also starting door-to-door visits to homeowners affected by the flood emergency to assess the needs of residents.
"With help from the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, we will start door-to-door visits to homeowners in affected areas to assess needs," said Hobbs in a press release Tuesday.
"As well, we are working together to establish a fund to provide a way for folks in the community who would like to help people in need."
Focus on assessing damage
Hobbs said that, as flooding starts to recede, residents are reminded of ongoing risk and the city is changing focus to assessment of damaged infrastructure followed by repairs.
"Although the damaging rain and flooding came on quickly and suddenly, the full recovery will take time – days and even weeks," said Hobbs.
Filing an insurance claim? Don't phone city hall
For those who feel they have a claim against the city of Thunder Bay for flood damage, call the insurance company first.
City clerk John Hannam said if residents want to make a claim after talking to insurance, they should do so through a letter to the clerk's office.
Hannam said his office is taking a lot of calls from the public asking how to obtain a claim form — but no such form exists at city hall.
The city reported it has received numerous offers of help and a Facebook page dedicated to the flood situation has many people talking about how to provide assistance.
Much of the post-flood woes have been exacerbated by the city’s sewage pumping station, which broke down in the wake of the flooding.
With the help of a temporary pumping station, the city is processing just over half the typical amount of sewage through the Atlantic Avenue Secondary Sewage Treatment Plant.
The city’s Declaration of Emergency will remain in place until further notice.
Logging road washouts
The Ministry of Natural Resources is advising the public to use caution on logging roads in the Nipigon area.
The recent heavy rains have caused some washouts and heavy rutting. The ministry says barricades will be set up at roads with known washouts or dangerous driving conditions.