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Flood Update: Calgary Could Face Months Of Power Outages, Siksika First Nation Devastated, And Medic
June 24, 2013
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Siksika First Nation flooded, on Sunday (Photo: CBC/John Rieti)

The clean-up efforts are beginning in southern Alberta after devastating flash floods hit last week. Four people died in the flooding, and more than 100,000 were forced to leave their homes.

In Calgary, power outages are expected to last for weeks or even months, Reuters reports.

"This is an evolving situation and because of the volatility of electricity and water and the infrastructure that was damaged we have lots of issues with restoring power to different parts of the city of Calgary," Alderman John Mar told CBC Radio.

"We are facing a gargantuan task."

Utility company Enmax turned off power to central Calgary on Friday afternoon to avoid damage to its downtown facilities, and troops were called in to shore up the east bank of the Bow River to protect an Enmax substation.

Elsewhere in Alberta, severe flooding on the Siksika First Nations reserve, 100 kilometres east of Calgary, has forced about 1,000 people from their homes, CBC News reports.

Residents are upset at the damage to their property, and concerned about what the future holds, but some are also angry at the lack of media coverage.

"It was all about the Saddledome, they forgot about us," Sally Fox told CBC on Sunday.

It could be weeks before the community is dry, and even then, many of the houses there may not be saved.

"How are we going to recover from all of this is what went through my thoughts," Chief Rabbit Carrier said.

"There's a sense of hopelessness... as a leader you have to overcome that and put emotions aside and start working toward the recovery."

Water bubbles out of a manhole along a street in Calgary on Sunday (Photo: AP/Jonathan Hayward)

Meanwhile in Medicine Hat, Alberta, the South Saskatchewan River was expected to crest early this morning, which could lead to severe flooding.

"This is going to impact a lot of facilities and is now going to separate our community north from south," Ron Robinson, Medicine Hat's Director of Emergency Management, told the National Post.

Water started lapping over the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, which divides the city in two, early on Sunday.

According to reports, the water levels are expected to stay high for several days.

Canadian Forces tour through Medicine Hat on Sunday as the river rises (Photo: AP/Nathan Denette)

Members of the Canadian Forces were also called in to help the residents of Medicine Hat prepare for possible flooding.

In Calgary, evacuation orders have been lifted for 65,000 people, and authorities are allowing those residents to perform self-assessments of their homes, while following the posted safety guidelines.

10,000 people are still under evacuation orders, and are not being allowed to return to their homes yet, CBC News reports.

The inside of Calgary's Saddledome during the flooding (Photo: AP/Calgary Flames)

As the recovery efforts get underway, many Calgarians and others have offered to pitch in and help.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is calling on those who are willing and able to meet at McMahon Stadium at 10 am MT today, wearing appropriate footwear and carrying insect repellent.

Volunteers are planning to knock on the doors of houses that were evacuated during the flooding, and provide residents who have returned home with information on flood recovery and other community resources.

One big question is whether the Calgary Stampede, which is expected to kick off July 5, will go ahead on schedule. The Saddledome was damaged by flooding and the Stampede grounds were covered with water.

But Mayor Nenshi says the show will go on.

"Stampede 101 may look very, very different from the 100th Stampede, but it will happen," Mayor Nenshi said at a media conference Sunday. "They [Stampede organizers] are going to work incredibly hard to make sure that show happens."

He's also planning to buy a new pair of cowboy boots for the event, based on this Twitter exchange.

For all the latest updates on the situation, visit the CBC Calgary page.

The Canadian Red Cross reported on Sunday that it has raised more than $2.6 million for Alberta flood relief in three days, the Edmonton Journal reports.

Donations to the Red Cross can be made by calling 1-800-418-1111 or by visiting their Alberta Flood Funds page. Also, donations can be made to the Salvation Army Flood Relief effort by calling 1-800-725-2769 or visiting their Flood Relief Effort page.

At the moment, the organization says it is working to get people shelter, food and water, and it needs monetary donations most of all.

"The best way is through financial donation; it allows us to be flexible and give it to where it needs to go," said Tracie Moore, communications manager for the Red Cross in Alberta.


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