Colleen Malone, SCI Humanitarian Adviser
Canmore, Alberta, Canada
June 28, 2013
Following the news of massive flooding in Canmore, in the Rocky Mountains just west of my hometown,
A friend is out of town and is letting us stay in her house. We are among about 100,000 people who have been displaced from their homes. Evacuation centres are sheltering around 1,500 people – everyone else is like us, benefiting from the kindness of friends and families. Our friend has a baby a bit older than my daughter. My daughter is delighted with all the other baby’s toys and books, and I am so relieved to be able to put her safely to sleep in a safe, quiet, comfortable place. But I want to go home. I see pictures from our neighbourhood – the pathway just across the street from our house has disappeared under about 13 feet of water. The Bow is rushing with just slightly less than the force and volume of Niagara Falls.
The rain has cleared at last and the air is fresh and crisp, but any thoughts of playing in the park across
Although we are home, all is not back to normal. My husband’s office is closed, as much of the
Out for a second day with the Siksika First Nation. It strikes me as I prepare to leave that while it is a much too common experience for so many of our staff around the world, this is the first time I’ve headed out for a day of emergency assessment or response from my own home. The Siksika are quite literally overwhelmed by in kind donations: the sportsplex that is serving as an evacuation centre has mountains of donated clothes, toiletries, toys, baby supplies, and bottled water. But the kids are climbing the walls – there is nothing to do, nowhere to go. No running water, no showers, lines of porto-potties. Fortuitously and coincidentally, a company from Calgary has donated and set up a tent just outside the sportsplex that is ideal for a child friendly space, and the centre staff are keen to have us establish one. On our way out, we talk to a family camped outside in a tent. The parents went through the residential school system; they don’t want to sleep inside in an institutional setting. No one knows when they will be able to drink the water, let alone go home.
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