By Rachelle Mullings
As I take this time to reflect on the weekend that changed every Calgarian’s life, I think of moments that I will never forget.
This week marks the one year anniversary of the Alberta Floods; a week that every Albertan will remember for the rest of their lives. The flood forced over 100,000 people from their homes in Southern Alberta, five people were pronounced dead (four drowned; a fifth died in an flood-related accident). The devastation swept through 30 communities and caused an estimated $6 billion in damage, the most costly natural disaster in Canadian history. These areas include some of Calgary’s biggest attractions such as the Calgary Zoo, the Calgary Saddledome, and communities such as Kensington, Bowness, and Downtown Calgary.
On June 21st, I remember going down to various communities with my brother and his friend to help make sand bags, pass out water, and distribute other various supplies to people in need.
Seeing the devastation right before my eyes, it broke my heart. Family memories washed away forever in a matter of a few hours. Various families and volunteers covered head to toe in mud, trying to save whatever they could of their homes and belongings. Although these people had lost pretty much everything, they still had smiles on their faces and tried to spread the love throughout the community. I remember my brother and I talked to one couple that said, “It could have been so much worse, we could have very well have lost our lives, so we are grateful we are alive!”
A year later there are various communities that are still in the process of rebuilding their homes and replacing personal items they lost in the floods.
Volunteers and many organizations are helping those who are still on the road to recovery such as the YWCA and the Red Cross. Although these communities are still on the road to repair, they never lost hope with the love and support of the surrounding provinces, volunteers, firefighters, RCMP and other various organizations.
Below are a few communities in the City of Calgary that are still undergoing repairs. Various ceremonies have occurred in each community, honoring the one year anniversary of the 2013 Alberta Flood.
Residents in the neighborhood of Elbow Park in southwest Calgary look over their flooded basement on June 22, 2013. One year later, repairs are still progressing slowly.
The Mission neighborhood in southwest Calgary, not far from the Stampede grounds, lies along the Elbow River. Resident Dauna Geddes stands in her flooded basement office on June 21, 2013. The year-long process of restoring the property is slowly showing results.
On June 20th, Mayor Naheed Nenshi took the time to thank every single one of the public sector employees and volunteers who helped the City of Calgary through the floods during a ceremony at City Hall on Friday morning.
On June 21st, Mayor Nenshi declares that this day will be marked as “Neighbor Day” to celebrate how Calgarians came together during last year’s floods to help each other.
‘We lost some stuff. We gained a community.’ And honestly, every time I think back on the flood, that’s what I think about.” – Mayor Nenshi