TREATY 7 GRAND CHIEF CHARLES WEASELHEAD LISTENS AS RED CROSS PROVINCIAL DIRECTOR STEVE ARMSTRONG SPEAKS WITH MEDIA DURING A PRESS CONFERENCE AT THE TREATY 7 MANAGEMENT CORPORATION OFFICE IN SOUTH CALGARY, ALTA. ON TUESDAY
Credits: Lyle Aspinall/Calgary Sun/QMI Ag
Source: Sun News
NADIA MOHARIB | QMI AGENCY
CALGARY – With “total devastation” in parts of Alberta’s First Nation communities, leaders anticipate recovery costs will be in the millions and could take years.
“Due to the almost total state of destruction, especially along river bottoms, the rebuilding process will amount to millions of dollars, especially in the case of Siksika,” Chief Charles Weaselhead, who is also Treaty 7 grand chief, said Tuesday.
In Siksika, east of Calgary, 250 homes are badly damaged and about 1,000 residents displaced while flooding also had a devastating impact in the communities of Eden Valley as well as Tsuu T’ina on this city’s southwestern edge where a golf course and homes were damaged.
With little warning prior to the flooding communities were unprepared for the disaster, but the swift support from regular people and both provincial and federal governments has been well received.
“We are very heartened by your support,” Weaselhead said.
“All we can be thankful for is that there was no loss of life or reports of dire injury.
“Our prayers and thoughts go to those families who lost loves ones (elsewhere).”
Red Cross provincial director Steve Armstrong said the agency raised some $2.1 million for southern Alberta flood relief efforts in less than 48 hours last week.
By Tuesday it was up to $5.4 million in donations.
“The speed and violence of the river and Mother Nature caught everyone a little unaware,” he said.
“We reacted fast.”
There are about 150 Red Cross volunteers from Canada and the U.S. helping those impacted by the flooding.
The initial goal is to get people back into homes and to stabilize their lives, he said.
“The longest, hardest work is the stuff to come,” he said.
“We are still working in Slave Lake two years after the fire.”
The Red Cross garnered $5.8 million for that disaster.
Those donating financially and others volunteering to help First Nations communities in the aftermath of flooding is not surprising to either Weaselhead nor Armstrong.
“When humanity is under attack, it doesn’t matter who they are or where they are – people want to come out and help,” Armstrong said.
The Assembly of First Nations’ National Chief Shawn Atleo will be in Alberta this week to survey flood damage.