These last few days have been rather traumatic in Alberta
and I have been trying to figure out how I can help.
On Thursday afternoon, I was at work when emergency alerts starting breaking through regular radio programming over and over again to announce floods, flash floods, emergency evacuations, etc.
It was eerie and bizarre.
It seemed those initial emergency alerts gave very little warning, and almost announced the emergency as it was unfolding, which, given how close those first impacted areas are to the top of the water basins, is perhaps not surprising. A co-worker lives in one of the first mandatory evacuation areas and she had less than an hour to get home grab her essentials and get out before the area was secured. If our office had been further away from her home, she probably would have missed the window.
When I woke on Friday morning, nearly every bridge in Calgary was closed and the city officials begged people to avoid all non-essential travel. Needless to say, our office stayed closed... which meant I spent the entire day--and I really do mean the entire day--with my television on the live news coverage and my laptop, iPad and smart phone connected to Twitter (#yycflood, #abflood), Facebook and Youtube. (I am lucky enough to live in a community that was missed by these events.)
Some of the videos looked like this...
This video is from Canmore. I have to wonder: WHY WERE THESE PEOPLE STANDING THERE (?!?!) when the backyards had been swept away and the footings of their houses were exposed!?!?!? But it is an amazing video.
The footage and photos of the flooded and damaged areas both shocked and saddened me. Many of my friends and family have been evacuated, but I believe all are safe. I saw somewhere that an estimated 175,000 people were displaced. As the high water makes its way down stream I expect those numbers will grow and move beyond Alberta. And, it is not just this one watershed that is going crazy--nearly every river and stream in Alberta that starts in the mountains is raging. Many towns and all of the major cities have issued flood watches, warnings or local states of emergency.
My heart goes out to those who have lost homes and loved ones. I hope we don't hear of more casualties in the days ahead. It is a miracle that there have not been more deaths and injuries announced already.
Our emergency personnel and government leaders have been amazing through this crisis. I applaud them all.
The city officials expect downtown Calgary, which is the heart of the city's commercial district, will be closed until next week. A vibrant, busy city has been brought to a screeching halt. But, on a positive note, Mayor Nenshi has indicated that, although it may not be quite the same as usual, the Calgary Stampede will go on! It is scheduled to start on July 5th. Considering that the Stampede grounds are still under water and the Saddledome, which is both the home of the Calgary Flames and one of the big venues for the Stampede, is flooded to the 10th row, this is an impressive goal. Still, I can't help but think this is smart decision, giving people hope and some positive news amid all the devastation.
As hard as the last few days have been, I expect the major difficulties for those impacted will be coming in the days ahead as people are slowly allowed to re-enter their neighborhoods and assess what has become of their homes. There is a lot of work ahead.
So, today, I donated to the Canadian Red Cross.
If you want to too, the link is: http://www.redcross.ca/
Today, I also decided I will make a second donation in July.
All of my June 2013 earnings from Devin's Second Chance will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Floods Fund.
My debut book, Devin's Second Chance, was just released last Monday, days before the flooding. As I type this, my earning have reached $28.70 (all retailers included).
I don't know if I'll have earned much more than that by the end of the month, so if my total earnings are less than $50, I will personally match the amount, thereby doubling the donation. I'll update you in July with my final June earnings and donation amount.
If you are interested in buying Devin's Second Chance, it is available here:
I hope everyone is staying safe!