This was one of the worst floods to hit southern Alberta after it left left two people dead,
communities like Canmore and High River devastated, literally shutting down the City of Calgary, and issueing a State of Emergency on Canada’s second largest First Nation, the Siksika Nation,
“Due to the significant amount of damage due to the flooding, emergency officials and volunteers on the Nation will continue to monitor the situation,” Chief Fred Rabbit Carrier said.
Siksika Nation is still in a State of Emergency and is striving to meet the needs of flood victims in this southern Alberta First Nation. Siksika Nation is located 100 km east of the City of Calgary along the Bow River and the recent flooding has affected approximately 200 homes in six communities on the Nation. Due to the major flood damage, approximately 1000 residents had been forced out of their homes in a Nation with 7000 members.
A boil water advisory had been issued to all areas of the Siksika Nation and residents were being advised to limit water usage to essential needs. All Siksika Nation schools were closed the day after the flood hit.
An emergency Reception Centre was set up at their local Deerfoot Sportsplex and a number of displaced Siksika families used the facility to wait out the disaster before venturing back home after a few days to survey the damage to their homes.
The two main bridges that connects the reserve’s south and west sides on highway 547 and highway 842, were both closed leaving residents as well and the entire region forced to find alternate routes. Both highways are key to get from one end of the reserve to the other and are main routes for srrounding towns like, Arrowood, Vulcan, Bassano, Milo and Gleichen to get through Siksika Nation. In fact some drivers had to go as far as Calgary just to cross.
The flooding has rendered many homes uninhabitable and approximately 200 homes have been evacuated and many of the Nation’s members are struggling to find accommodations and basic provisions. Consequently, the Nation is accepting donations to secure safe and adequate interim housing for those who have been forced to leave their homes and to assist with the disaster recovery process.
Residents are still being asked to stay out of their damaged homes but were bussed out to the communities to survey the damage. Damage to the homes has been assessed and residents will be notified of the status of their home during the tour. Storage units will be brought into the damaged communities so they can clean up can begin and recover items to be stored.
Some of the evacuees have been camping on higher ground overlooking their homes while others have been taken in by relatives or have been staying in hotels in surrounding towns.
Premier Alison Redford also made a visit to the reception centre on July 2nd and surveyed some of the affected communities and was notified of Siksika’s plans to assist evacuees by bringing in ATCO trailers for short term housing. Mobile homes not used in the Slave Lake fire disaster will also be brought in to meet housing demand.
On Wednesday, July 3 those affected by the flood were able to receive flood assistance from the provincial government. Debit cards preloaded with $1250 for adults and $500 for children were disbursed between at the Siksika Resource Developments Ltd. Building (SRDL).
Siksika Nation appreciates all the efforts of the volunteers during this ongoing crisis and the donations of items. However, due to the overwhelming donation of clothing and limited storage space, at this time Siksika Nation is now only requesting financial donations to meet the ongoing needs of the evacuees.
Anyone wanting to volunteer to help out during this emergency can phone or go directly to the Deerfoot Sportsplex and they will be assigned emergency duties. To volunteer or to get report issues or updates, individuals can call the Command Centre at: 403-734-3999.
Donation inquiries can be made to 403-734-3600.
‘Siksika Nation Disaster Relief Fund’
BMO Bank of Montreal
P.O. Box 1429