Updates as of July 1, 2013:
Over the holiday weekend those involved in The Salvation Army Alberta Flood Relief efforts continued to serve our fellow Canadians just as Salvationists have for 131 years. We have served over 10,000 people with food, hydration and emotional & spiritual care.
Each day we now have 8 Community Response Units (CRUs) with crews, as well as emotional & spiritual care personnel in various areas of High River, Nanton and Blackie.
High River – We continue to provide food, hydration and emotional & spiritual care in Blackie at the evacuation centre. We have three Community Response Units and teams rotating in and out of the Emergency Operations Centre providing food, hydration and emotional & spiritual care to the responders who are diligently working to restore the town so that residents can return as soon as possible. At this time we are serving 1200 hundred meals per day at this location alone.
On Friday, June 28th we received a request from the Province to have emotional & spiritual care personnel in High River for the foreseeable future to lend support on the buses as they take residents on tours of their neighbourhood, as well as at the rodeo grounds and airport as residents would be registering to find out the condition of their home. Immediately a call went out across the division for officers and soldiers to deploy to Calgary to assist with this. On Saturday, June 29, a Community Response Unit and crew, as well as numerous emotional and spiritual care personnel, were deployed to the airport and rodeo site to provide hydration, food and emotional & spiritual care as residents received word as to whether their home was GREEN (no damage), YELLOW (some damage but inhabitable and repairable), ORANGE (extensive damage and not necessarily inhabitable), or RED (not repairable or inhabitable). On Saturday, over 1200 residents registered and due to the very hot temperatures our team also provided sunscreen for everyone during the two hour wait. We also provided lunch for over 100 volunteers from other agencies who were providing support throughout the day. Registrations continued on Sunday and Monday and our teams were again in place providing hydration, snacks, emotional & spiritual care, and sunscreen to residents as they registered and also provided meals for over 100 volunteers. On Sunday and Monday we were also able to provide a roving crew of emotional & spiritual care personnel who walked the streets where the residents were in the process of cleaning out from the destruction and offered a “cup of cold water” in Jesus’ name, to over 250 people as they visited 64 homes on the first day.
On Sunday, Lieutenants Cory & Kelly Fifield were able to take one of the bus tours to their neighbourhood and noted that the quarters were marked as YELLOW and once they are allowed access we will be able to determine the extent of the damage.
On Monday, the Fifields, along with the Planning Chief and the Operations Chief from our own Incident Command, were allowed access to the Thrift Store and Community & Family Services (foodbank)and saw that both of which have suffered extensive damage. They were also given approval to enter the Corps (Church) building, which has approximately a foot of water in the basement. Both properties will required considerable cleanup and repair before services can resume. We are working on obtaining a temporary site in order to get the Community & Family Services and our local relief efforts up and running as soon as possible.
We are continuing to provide food, hydration and emotional & spiritual care in Blackie at the evacuee centre and also in Nanton to over 700 people per day.
Calgary – On Monday, July 1st the staff & residents celebrated Canada Day with the reopening the Centre of Hope in downtown Calgary. The basement areas which were damaged in the flood are undergoing significant repairs and have been isolated from the rest of the building so the restoration can continue and not contaminate the rest of the building. The elevator is still presently inoperable indefinitely and an elevator consultant will be conducting another review tomorrow. In spite of this, residents began the process of moving back “home” at 9 a.m. Due to the lack of an elevator in this 8 story facility some staff and residents have been temporarily unable to return. A CRU was on site to provide hot coffee and snacks as the residents waited to check back in and staff were able to serve lunch for those who returned. Our thanks to the staff for their tireless efforts over the past week and a half, as they too were displaced from their work place, and to the many volunteers jumped in to get the Centre of Hope cleaned and ready for everyone come back today.
Medicine Hat – There are still 170 homes evacuated and we have personnel on site at the evacuation centre meeting with residents to arrange accommodations, clothing vouchers and gift cards. It is anticipated that 40 – 50 homes will be on a long term evacuation.
Morley – The CRU and crew that have been providing food, hydration and emotional & Spiritual care in Morley concluded their service on Sunday, June 30th in preparation for returning home to British Columbia on Monday. However they decided that rather than return to Calgary overnight they wanted to remain in Morley to serve breakfast to the residents before returning home later in the day. We express our gratitude to this crew for their tireless service over the past week.