Salvation Army Responds to Alberta Floods *UPDATED - Salvation Army Canada

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    Salvation Army Responds to Alberta Floods *UPDATED

    Staff offer meals and emotional support to hundreds of evacuees. Updated as of July 8, 2013. July 8, 2013
    Filed Under:
    Territorial News
    As of July 8:

    The Calgary Flood Emergency has officially ended and residents who are still displaced will be assisted through our Community Services office. The Salvation Army is primarily focusing its relief efforts in High River, where flood waters continue to be pumped and residents return to pick up the pieces of their lives. Food, hydration and a listening ear are welcome relief to a town “just totally not prepared for this.”

    “The Salvation Army is exactly what we need,” says High River resident Doreen, whose house has been labelled code orange—meaning it is waterlogged, unsafe to live in, but salvageable.

    To date, throughout Calgary and surrounding areas affected by flooding, The Salvation Army has served 11,500 meals and provided emotional and spiritual care (ESC) to more than 870 evacuees, residents, and responders.

    In High River, The Salvation Army's food bank/thrift store/office space suffered significant damage. The only salvageable items were metal clothing racks from the store. It is expected that it will be months before the facility can be reopened.

    In this community of 13,000, the Army provided the only food bank and family services. The Army feels it is critical to resume these services as soon as possible and will place a temporary triple-wide trailer unit in its church parking lot to serve as a food and clothing distribution centre. The goal is to have it in full operation by July 15.

    The Army meets needs as they arise. At the request of the Municipal District of Bighorn, The Salvation Army will deploy a Community Response Unit (CRU) to Exshaw, (a hamlet 90km west of Calgary) on Tuesday, July 8. For the next 10 days lunch will be provided to 60 evacuees and volunteers.

    “I want to express my sincere gratitude for all that The Salvation Army has done for us,” says Linda Sojer, President of the High River Downtown Business Association. “Over the next few days our community is going to need to feel your presence and the love you provide even more. Thank you for your continued support."

    As of July 1:

    Medicine Hat - There are still 170 homes evacuated and the Army has personnel onsite 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 long-term evacuation.

    Calgary - Staff and residents celebrated Canada Day with the reopening of the Centre of Hope in downtown Calgary. The basement areas that 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 but an elevator consultant will be conducting another review. 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 eight-story facility, some staff and residents have been temporarily unable to return. A Community Response Unit was onsite to provide hot coffee and snacks as the residents waited to check back in, and by lunchtime staff were able to have lunch on for those who returned. The Army is grateful to the staff for their tireless efforts over the past week and a half and to the many volunteers who jumped in to get the Centre of Hope cleaned and ready for everyone to return.

    Morley - The Community Response Unit and crew that have been providing food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care in Morley concluded their service on Sunday, June 30, in preparation for returning home to British Columbia the next day. However, they decided that instead of staying in Calgary overnight, they would remain in Morley to serve breakfast to the residents before returning home later in the day. The Army is grateful to this crew for their tireless service over the past week.

    High River - The Army continues to provide food, hydration and emotional and 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 and 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, the Army is serving 1,200 meals per day at this location alone.

    On Friday, June 28, we received a request from the province to have emotional and 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 the airport where residents would be registering to find out the condition of their homes. 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 and spiritual care as residents received word as to whether their homes were classified as GREEN (no damage), YELLOW (some damage but inhabitable and repairable), ORANGE (extensive damage and not necessarily inhabitable) or RED (not repairable or inhabitable). That day, over 1,200 residents registered and, due to the very hot temperatures, the Army provided sunscreen for everyone during the two-hour wait. The Army also provided lunch for more than 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 and spiritual care, and sunscreen to residents as they registered. We also provided two meals for more than 100 volunteers. On Sunday and Monday, we were also able to provide a roving crew of emotional and spiritual care personnel who walked the streets where the residents were in the process of cleaning their homes after the destruction and offered a “cup of cold water” in Jesus' name to more than 250 people as they visited 64 homes on the first day.

    On Sunday, Lieutenants Cory and Kelly Fifield, corps officers in High River, were able to take one of the bus tours to their neighbourhood and noted that the quarters were marked as YELLOW. Once they are allowed access to the quarters, the Army will be able to determine the extent of the damage.

    On Monday, Lieutenants Fifield, along with the planning chief and the operations chief from the Army's Incident Command, were allowed access to the Army's thrift store and community and family services office (including the food bank), which have suffered extensive damage. They were also given approval to enter the corps building where there is still approximately 30 centimetres of water in the basement. Both properties will required considerable cleanup and repair before services can resume.

    The Army is working to obtain a temporary site in order to get community and family services and local relief efforts up and running as soon as possible.

    The Army continues to provide food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care in Blackie at the evacuee centre and also in Nanton to over 700 people per day.

    As of June 26:

    Medicine Hat – We have been providing assistance to evacuees such as clothing, accommodations and emotional and spiritual care. We have been able to move our residents back into our shelter. We are awaiting confirmation on providing food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care at a number of additional sites as well.

    Drumheller – We continue to provide hydration to evacuees and responders.

    Calgary – The Centre of Hope sustained considerable water damage to the parking garage, basement food preparation area, maintenance and storage areas. As well, four of our program vehicles were in the garage at the time of the flood. The refrigeration units that were in the basement will have to be replaced, along with all the food.

    We would anticipate that we will not be able to open the Centre of Hope for at least another week. We have presently set up a temporary shelter for over 60 residents at another Salvation Army facility. As the evacuation centres close in Calgary we may need to provide shelter for a further 200 of our residents.

    The Agape Hospice has been reopened and residents are moving back.

    We have three Community Response Units (CRUs) and teams in various evacuee centres to provide feeding, hydration and emotional and spiritual care.

    Canmore – We have deployed a Community Response Unit and team to provide feeding, hydration and emotional and spiritual care.

    High River – We continue to provide food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care at the Blackie evacuation centre, and to the responders who are diligently working to restore the town so that residents can return as soon as possible. We have not been able to access our own properties (corps, thrift store, community and family services), which were damaged in the flood. For more information and a first-hand account of the flooding, read our interview with Lieutenant Cory Fifield, corps officer in High River, here.

    As of June 21:

    View from the Centre of Hope


    More than a dozen towns in southern Alberta have declared a state of emergency due to powerful, high flood waters. In Calgary alone, more than 100,000 people have been forced from their homes.

    Salvation Army personnel are working tirelessly to provide meals and emotional support to hundreds of evacuees in the community of Blackie. They are on standby to provide support where the need is greatest.

    In addition, The Salvation Army itself has suffered significant water damage to its thrift stores in both High River and Claresholm, and its church in High River.

    Meanwhile, in Calgary, The Salvation Army has evacuated and relocated 400 clients and staff at its Centre of Hope and word has just been received that the Army's Agape Hospice is in the process of evacuation.

    “The Salvation Army will be on-site for as long as needed,” says Pam Goodyear of The Salvation Army. “We are dedicated to providing additional support as required.”

    If you wish to donate to the flood relief, click here.

     

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