Tuesday, June 25, 2013

wow. (the only thing about the yyc flood i seem to be able to say)*

So as my family spent a long weekend in Maine at a family reunion, those who lived in Calgary watched the internet with a bit of horror as the rivers spilled over into the city and flooded downtown. A lot of them live in said downtown and their houses were in the evacuation zone. I, as someone who was raised in the city and who feels very connected to it, found it unbelievable and tough to watch. I can only imagine how it was for my sister (who is 8 months pregnant) and Matt to see pictures of their block underwater...and know they had their truck in the underground parkade (with car seats in it) and that their storage room was likely also full of water.
The flood even made the small town Maine paper
Yes - it is just stuff and they know that in the grand scheme of things, they are lucky to be safe and my entire family is happy that they (along with my grandma and my aunt and uncle - who ended up with a flooded basement) are safe (and I'm glad that my mum and our family on Jordan's side lives on higher ground and have nothing to worry about except helping others recover). But it isn't fun to have to deal with all that goes along with flooding. That includes the fact that Heather and her crew left Montreal (delayed due to a thunderstorm of all things) knowing they couldn't actually go back home because there is no power or (clean) water.
the good kind of waterfront  (we spent the weekend surrounded by great scenery and great people)
It doesn't just stop at the billions of dollars that the economy will lose (I think they're saying 2-3) and in damage from the water (3 to 5 billion dollars? yeah, that's a lot) in Calgary alone. In the areas around Calgary, the damage was pretty extreme as well. The Siksika First Nation was absolutely devastated (here are pictures, and video is here). The Morely/Stoney Dakota Nation just west of Calgary (right near where I used to go to summer camp) was also pummelled by the water, the town of High River is living up to its name (and apparently was under so much water that it now looks like a war zone), and apparently an entire side of a mountain has collapsed and the Rockies will never be the same. And really - it doesn't stop even there, but there are too many places and people to even begin to mention. For more crazy pictures - the Huffington Post Alberta has some galleries (they also have a "flood 2005" gallery which I was there for and I thought THAT was bad but this is many many times worse) and Leana has some pretty crazy videos posted as well.

The bright spots have been seeing people come together and want to help each other. I've always known that people in Calgary are great - but when more than 7,000 people show up when they put out the call for 600 volunteers? That is awesome. And seeing the mayor stay awake so long to try to get things "under control" that a #nap4nenshi hashtag needed to be used? Also great. The Calgary Food Trucks feeding volunteers for for free and others for a donation to the Red Cross? Awesome as well. Plus, this ridiculously photogenic firefighter from Nanton, AB has made pretty much everyone smile:
Sometimes I hate Calgary's redneck reputation and conservative tendencies. I mock the urban sprawl and I wonder if it will ever seem like a place with more soul. But it is where I'm from - Calgarians and Albertans are still "my people" - and it sucks to see my people in need. And I think it is showing a tonne of heart now.

Want to help? The Red Cross is taking donations. And the Morley Food Bank needs help too. If you're in Calgary - YYC Helps is organizing crews of volunteers. And I'm sure there are countless other ways to help. Try following the #yycflood hashtag to see if anyone needs help and Nenshi is tweeting up a storm with links and information. Or if you know anyone in the city or surrounding areas (I'm sure High River will need a lot of help) - put out a call to those people and see if they need anything. Even just a "I'm glad you're ok and I'm thinking of you" might at least make someone smile.

And if you're in Calgary and need a smile, if the firefighter didn't do it, how about a kid and her great-aunt playing with bubbles?
does it get much happier than playing with bubbles? photo credit to my cousin Jill via Heather/@mrsbrillinger
Stay safe Alberta peeps and don't be afraid to ask for help or to rely on the kindness of strangers or semi-strangers. And Heather - good luck! Since I'm sitting pretty in dry (ok - it is humid so maybe dry isn't the right word) Montreal, feel free to call to bitch and complain any time.

*So clearly I can say more than "wow" 

The Calgary Food Bank needs cash donations as well: http://www.calgaryfoodbank.com/ 


Runner Leana said...

You said things so much better than I could, thank you! All the best to your family as they clean up. If anyone needs help please let me know!

Nicole @ Haute Runner said...

So devastating. So many people have lost everything.

I feel awful for Heather and hope she can return home soon.