Nfld. & Labrador

Tears of joy, and sadness, as Mud Lake residents reunite for first time since flood

People from Mud Lake got together for a dinner Thursday night.

Residents were evacuated from the community early Wednesday morning

Volunteers from the Salvation Army and RBC helped cook and serve food for displaced community members. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Mud Lake residents were given the chance to get together for the first time since flooding forced them out of their homes early Wednesday morning.

"It's good to see everybody together … Things are destroyed, and life is going to change as we know it, but to know that everybody got out of there with their lives," said evacuee Melissa Best.

"That sounds a little bit drastic, but it's true."

Jordon Hope says reuniting with his Mud Lake neighbours was emotional. (Katie Breen/CBC)

The residents and animals of Mud Lake had to be airlifted to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, as the banks of the Churchill River swelled and water eventually overtook properties in Mud Lake.

You wouldn't believe how much we really appreciate this.- Jordon Hope

On Thursday evening, the Salvation Army hosted a supper for roughly 50 people who call Mud Lake home.

"I found it hard first, coming in," said Jordon Hope, about the reunion with his neighbours.

"I broke down a couple times."

Water levels on the Churchill River appear to be receding. Regular monitoring data by the federal government shows levels have dropped since the peak, around midnight Tuesday.

However, homes are still waterlogged and residents haven't been able to return to assess the damages.

"There was a lot of excitement in this room as they got to hug somebody for the first time in a couple of days," said Salvation Army Lt. Brent Hass, one of the organizers of the dinner.

The community met for supper Thursday evening. (Katie Breen/CBC)

"And of course among those moments of joy there was certainly tears realizing what they have been affected by as a community."

Best said "the community of Labrador" continues to chip in and help.

"I think we're a different breed," Best said of Labradorians.

"When one community is hurting all other communities are right there to help and assist."

Melissa Best says the 'community of Labrador' has been helping Mud Lake. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Money and supplies have been coming in from the Labrador's north and south coasts, Rigolet and Upper Lake Melville.

"It's humbling to see what everybody is doing for us."

'Needed some little bit of extra spirit'

Volunteers with RBC and the Salvation Army decorated a multi-purpose room at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay church with blue and silver table cloths, floating flower centerpieces and icicle lights.

It was a way for them to show people from Mud Lake people are thinking of them, and give them something to brighten their day.

Tina Barrett, left, helps clean up after serving the community of Mud Lake supper. (Katie Breen/CBC)

"They really needed some little bit of extra spirit today, I think," said Tina Barrett who helped served the lasagna, chicken wings, salad and dessert.

"To see them smiling and that kind of thing, amidst the turmoil and stuff that they're going through … To have the opportunity to speak with them a little bit and let them know that we're all here to help them out."

Displaced residents gave the cooking and serving team a standing ovation at the end of the meal.

"You wouldn't believe how much we really appreciate this," said Hope.

"I can't thank people enough."


Katie Breen

Video producer

Katie Breen shoots and edits video for CBC in St. John's. She began working in news ten years ago as a reporter. Now she tells most stories from behind the camera. You can reach her at