At least three people were killed by floodwaters that devastated much of southern Alberta,leading authorities to evacuate the western Canadian city of Calgary’s entire downtown. Inside the city’s hockey arena,the waters reached as high as the 10th row. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday called the level of flooding “stunning” and said officials don’t know yet if it will get worse,but said the water has peaked and stabilised and noted that the weather has improved.
Overflowing rivers washed out roads and bridges,soaked homes and turned streets into dirt-brown waterways around southern Alberta. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt Patricia Neely told reporters three were dead and two bodies were recovered. The two bodies recovered are the two men who had been seen floating lifeless in the Highwood River near High River on Thursday,she said.
Harper,a Calgary resident,said he never imagined there would be a flood of this magnitude in this part of Canada. “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.” 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,” Nenshi 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 residents,were evacuated due to floodwaters in Calgary,a city of more than a million people that hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics and is the center of Canada’s oil industry.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford said Medicine Hat,east of Calgary,was under a mandatory evacuation order affecting 10,000 residents. The premier warned that communities downstream of Calgary had not yet felt the full force of the floodwaters.