On Thursday evening, my hometown, Calgary, Alberta and many surrounding areas were hit with massive flooding. It was said to have been one of the worst in our city’s history. 80,000 to 100,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes in Calgary. Downtown is completely closed. (There are around 350,000 people who work downtown) High River, Alberta is under water as are several other towns in this beautiful province.
The amazing thing about this disaster is the positive response and amount of giving these areas are displaying. It’s really cool to know that I am part of a community who, instead of looting and rioting, have really pulled together to put on charity events, volunteer at homeless shelters, donated blankets, clothing and food and have even posted on our ever growing social network sites – “I have a spare room” or “if you need a place to stay – and a hug, come here! There’s lots of room” etc. It’s definitely motivating and inspiring and wonderful to see.
My best friend in the whole wide world was evacuated from her home. She lives alone but her momma is in from out of town and I can’t tell you how much she loves her home. But she had to leave her home and stay with us. She said something that made me think…
“I just want to go home.”
It’s not that she didn’t appreciate a warm bed and a comfortable, relaxing and quiet place to stay but she really just wanted to be home. My best friend in the whole wide world is not allowed to go home. Like hundreds of thousands of Albertans, she is displaced. Maybe this will help:
After the initial shock
- Please don’t go back home until your area has been cleared for re-entry. Not only will this create extra work for emergency crews (fire, police, military) when they have to keep an eye on you, but it’s really not safe.
- Please, for the love of pearl, DO NOT PULL OVER ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD TO TAKE PICTURES! I truly do understand the desire to stop and look. It creates extra work for the emergency crews when they are already so busy – they have to assign units to patrol the areas that people are pulling over in and it’s not safe for other drivers who have to slam on their breaks because they are trying to merge onto busy roads or they are distracted by what you are doing. It’s just really not a good call.
- Stay away from the rivers. The soil surrounding the river is unstable and you could fall in.
- Stay informed. Watch the news. It’s our social responsibility as part of these communities to be aware of what is going on. Watch local news, listen to the radio, read the newspapers, check it out on the web. Google is our friend.
- Focus not, on the problem. (that’s my Yoda impression) Instead focus on the solution. We cannot change the past, but we have the power to make smart choices here. We can focus on the solutions and possibilities. Talk with your friends and family, maybe they have solutions that you haven’t thought of yet.
- Accept or ask for help. When you ask for help, you model the following behaviors and results for everyone around you: relationship building, productivity building, the strength it takes to actually ask for help, and the willingness it takes to be open to others’ suggestions. Other people really want to help. It makes them feel good! And, you may just get what you asked for!
- Engage in acts of selflessness. This will not only help keep your mind off your hurdles and barriers and the like, but it will make you feel really great inside. (please don’t look for credit here, this is an act of selflessness – it is not an act done so you can get a pat on the back. If people see that you deserve that gratitude, they will give it to you. This is an act or acts to benefit your community and its residents.)
- COME TO THE KING’S HEAD PUB IN CALGARY! There is an amazing event being held there from 1pm until 12am today/tonight. Calgary Bands for a Cause is holding a charity event to benefit those impacted by the flood. All money raised will go to the Red Cross – Flood Relief for Southern Alberta. Plus, you’ll get to see some wonderful bands and be surrounded by wonderful people. $10 at the door.
Lots of people have been asking where they can find out which roads are closed. Here is a link I have bookmarked for when I have to go somewhere.
And here is another link for general information about our state of emergency
I think we live in an amazing area. As I said before, I really can’t believe the generosity of our city and all the areas around us. Even our Mayor is awesome. Way to go Nenshi! One of the comments on a status I wrote, “Our mayor is awesome!” one of my friends said “…when he says something, I actually believe him.”
So thanks everyone, for being spectacular and of high moral character during this disaster and state of emergency.