Many parts of Saskatchewan experienced torrential rains and flash flooding the week of July 10, forcing hundreds of evacuations and several communities declaring states of emergency. Before long, Salvation Army emergency and disaster services personnel were on hand serving meals and providing emotional and spiritual care to evacuees and first responders.

Now, as residents clean up and come to grips with damages, The Salvation Army is ready to assist in whatever way it can.

"The hardest hit area was Arborfield, a community of 400 in central Saskatchewan, where much of the town turned into a lake," says Captain Rick Robins, corps officer, Melfort - Circuit with Nipawin and Tisdale, Sask. "The worst damage was in the south east side, which was flooded when a road gave way.

“We served hot meals to the emergency workers and dedicated residents who had sandbagged around the clock to prevent their town from washing away and to hungry evacuees trying to come to grips with the devastation.”

Salvation Army personnel serve lunch to 130 people in Arborfield, Sask. Salvation Army personnel serve lunch to 130 people in Arborfield, Sask.

Robins visited a couple whose entire home was immersed under six feet of water. “The wife was trying to salvage what she could,” says Robins. “We don't ask a lot of questions. It's too emotional. We listened and offered help if they needed anything.”

Another couple who lived in their home for 30 years had done extensive landscaping that included a tiered yard built of railway ties. The picture-perfect scene was all swept away.

“Residents weren't used to flooding of this extent,” says Captain Robins.“The water overtook the town. The challenge now is clean-up, coping with loss and how to move forward. The Salvation Army is available to assist residents in any way we can. We are here for the long term.”

Meanwhile, a North Saskatchewan River oil spill prompted boiled-water advisories and one store reportedly sold out of their bottled water in 15 minutes. While some advisories are lifted, those in rural communities continue to be affected.

“At this point we have a 78-case pallet of bottled water and are prepared and ready to serve if the need arises,” says Captain Robins.

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