Canada Floods Force Thousands Of Evacuations

June 22, 2013 |

Around 75,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and at least three have died following severe flooding to communities around Calgary in western Canada.

Roads and bridges have been washed away and swathes of the city are under water.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who toured the area on Friday, called the level of flooding “stunning”.

“This is incredible. I’ve seen a little bit of flooding in Calgary before. I don’t think any of us have seen anything like this before. The magnitude is just extraordinary,” he said.

“We’re all very concerned that if gets much more than this it could have real impact on infrastructure and other services longer term, so we’re hoping things will subside a bit.”


Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant Patricia Neely said three people had died and two bodies had been recovered.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the water levels have reached a peak, but have not declined.

“We’ve sat at the same level for many, many hours now,” he said.

“There is one scenario that would it go even higher than this, so you’ll either see the Bow river continue at this level for many hours or you will see it grow even higher and we’re prepared for that eventuality.”

Twenty-five neighbourhoods in the city, with an estimated 75,000 people, have already been evacuated in the city.

A spokesman for Canada’s defence minister said 1,300 soldiers are being deployed to the flood zone.

Man carries his dog to safety in High River in Alberta province
Water levels have reached a peak, the city’s mayor says

In downtown Calgary, the home rink of the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames has flooded and the water inside is 10 rows deep.

“I think that really paints a very clear picture of what kinds of volumes of water we are dealing with,” said Trevor Daroux, the city’s deputy police chief.

The floods are also forcing emergency plans at the Calgary Zoo, which is situated on an island near where the Elbow and Bow rivers meet.

Lions and tigers are being prepared for transfer, if necessary, to prisoner holding cells at the courthouse.

Calgary is not alone in its weather-related woes. Flashpoints of chaos have spread from towns in the Rockies south to Lethbridge.

More than a dozen towns have declared states of emergency. Entire communities, including High River and Bragg Creek, near Calgary, are under mandatory evacuation orders.

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