It was over a year ago today that the Bow and Elbow rivers broke their banks, along with the Little Bow, Sheep, Highwood, Red Deer, and the South Saskatchewan.
It was the worst flooding in Calgary’s history, and the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history, with damages, cleanup and related costs totalling over $6 billion. Over 100,000 people were affected, 32 local states of emergency were declared. Four people died directly in the flooding, and one death happened right after during a damage check on a neighbour’s house.
Homes can be rebuilt, but nothing can replace the lives lost in those terrible days. If there is one shining ray of hope, however, that can be found, it is this: how Calgarians rallied to help themselves and their neighbours get through the crisis.
Our local emergency services went above and beyond the call of duty time and time again. Thousands of volunteers gathered in the stricken areas to help family, friends and even total strangers dig out the mud and clean up the debris. At Knight, we did our best to help, but we were only a small part of a greater effort. In those dirty, exhausting weeks that followed, we were never more proud to be a part of Calgary community.
Today, some communities are still struggling to recover, and watchful eyes are kept on all our local rivers. There are flood management projects in the works, so hopefully flooding to this degree will never happen again. But if it does, I know that Calgary will pull together and make us proud again.
Bernie Wandler and the entire Knight Team.