Tears of joy, and sadness, as Mud Lake residents reunite for first time since flood
Residents were evacuated from the community early Wednesday morning
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."
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."
Dinner for Mud Lake residents being held by Salvation Army in HVGB. The room looks beautiful. Lasagna on the menu! <a href="https://t.co/7nVxszCcMr">pic.twitter.com/7nVxszCcMr</a>—@KatieBreenNL
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.
"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."
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.
"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."
The scene from the Mud Lake supper held at the HVGB Salvation Army tonight <a href="https://t.co/EbVnVZtWn7">pic.twitter.com/EbVnVZtWn7</a>—@KatieBreenNL
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."