INDEPTH: FORCES OF NATURE
CBC News Online | June 23, 2005
As a people, Canadians are obsessed with their natural surroundings and the natural events that affect their day-to-day lives. And it should come as no surprise: Canada spans an enormous landmass from sea to sea to sea, and has been moulded over time by an impressive array of weather and geological events, from rampaging tornadoes to searing forest fires and icy avalanches. Navigate the right-hand menu to find out more about the forces of nature affecting you.
Some major Canadian natural disasters in the last 10 years:
Manitoba and Alberta see severe flooding. Costs and insurance estimates not yet known.
July 15, 2004
Floods in Peterborough, Ont., affect over 4,000 homes and cause damages estimated at between $71 million and over $92 million.
Edmonton survives floods and a hailstorm that cost over $180 million. The West Edmonton Mall is evacuated of 30,000 people, and damage is estimated at $74 million.
Fire hits Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley in southeastern B.C., as well as southwestern Alberta. Fifty thousand people are forced from their homes and firefighting costs alone reached $400 million. An unknown number of people are injured. Insurance payouts total $200 million.
Sept. 29, 2003
Hurricane Juan hits Halifax, N.S., and Charlottetown, P.E.I. The Category 2 hurricane kills eight people, and results in $113 million in payouts to repair the damage.
Forest fires near Conklin, Lac La Biche and Wood Buffalo in northern Alberta force out 1,550 people. Over 1,000 firefighters work to contain the fire, which burns nearly 250,000 hectares. The estimated cost is $22.1 million.
A tornado in Pine Lake, Alta., leaves 12 dead and 140 injured; 1,000 people are displaced. The estimated cost of the disaster is over $30 million.
A tornado in Drummondville, Que., leaves one dead and four injured; 200 leave their homes. The estimated cost is between $30 million and over $43 million.
A forest fire in La Ronge, Sask., forces out 1,500 people. Almost 250 firefighters take a week to put it out.
January 5-9, 1998
An ice storm hits Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick leaving 28 people dead and 945 injured, and forcing 600,000 from their homes. Over 1.2 million homes in Quebec and 250,000 in Ontario lose power. Of an estimated total of $4.2 billion to $5.4 billion in costs incurred from the disaster, from $1.8 billion to $2.7 billion is paid out by the government and insurance companies to repair the damage.
The flooding of the Red River in Manitoba forces 25,000 people from their homes. Seven thousand military personnel work to relocate evacuees and prevent further flooding. The estimated cost of the disaster is over $817 million.
Peace River Flood in Alberta. Four hundred forced out, and the estimated cost is $48 million.
July 19, 1996
Flooding of Saguenay River Valley in Quebec kills 10 people and nearly 16,000 leave their homes. It causes over $1 billion in damages. Insurance companies alone pay out over $200,000 in claims.
The flooding of the Lesser Slave Lake area in Alberta forces over 900 people out, and the cost is estimated at over $18.6 million.
Tornados in Grey, Wellington and Dufferin counties in Ontario leave nine injured, and cost an estimated $12 million.
Forest fires in north-central Saskatchewan force out 2,500 people. Sixteen thousand square kilometres of forest burn, destroying 48 million cubic metres of wood. The estimated cost is over $91.5 million.
Canada's most expensive natural disasters in the last 10 years
Environment Canada Science and Environment Bulletin
- 2001-02 drought in British Columbia, Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia; preliminary cost estimate: $5 billion.
- 1998 Ice storm in Ontario and Quebec; cost: $4.2 billion
- 1979-80 drought on the Prairies; cost: $2.5 billion.
- 1988 drought on the Prairies; cost: $1.8 billion.
- 1984 drought on the Prairies; cost: $1 billion.
- 1996 flood in Saguenay, Que.; cost: $1 billion.
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