Southern Alberta Floods

UPDATED: JUNE 23 

The southern Alberta floods which began Thursday morning have left many horsepeople, livestock and pets stranded, and/or in need of assistance. To date, over 70,000 people in the city of Calgary have been evacuated and nearly 20 outlying communities from Red Deer south to Lethbridge have, or are on the verge of calling a state of emergency.

Many of the affected are rural people, caring for livestock and pets. Many are without internet, or landline phone service. Without these essential tools of communication it’s hard to know who even needs help right now.

The people I spoke with Friday described the situation as “severe,” “unbelievable” and “much worse than it even appears now.” Without cell, landline or internet service, Managing Editor, Dainya Sapergia drove to Okotoks to return text messages. From there she relayed, “the livestock situation is very scary right now. No one had time to get anything out, they just had to cut fences.”

This photo of the Calgary Stampede grounds was posted on CBC reporter, Cameron MacIntosh’s twitter feed Friday morning. Understandably, this is a great concern the Stampede, scheduled to kick off in two weeks time, will not proceed as scheduled, however the organization’s twitter feed released the following message Friday afternoon: “Our volunteer and employee teams will be working hard to create and deliver the Calgary Stampede on July 5-14 as scheduled.” Perhaps, as some have commented on the Western Horse Review Facebook page, the community needs to rally around an event such as the Stampede now, more than ever.

An update to Friday’s note: yesterday the Calgary Stampede released this image in response to the many concerns and rumors of the viability of the show proceeding in less than two weeks. Love the cowboy-up attitude and fantastic to see folks rallying around it.

• Updates on the Calgary Stampede situation can be found here.

The information below is what we’ve gathered throughout the day and addresses areas of need, relief and horse show and rodeo cancellations and announcements. I’ll update this list as information flows in.

• Find family members affected by the flooding in Alberta at the Red Cross Safe and Well site.

• Check the High River Flood Support Facebook Page for ways to contribute and the latest news.

• The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society has set up a hotline for southern Alberta residents who are being evacuated and in need of temporary housing for pets. Please contact AARCS at (403) 250-7377 during business hours or (403) 869-4694 after hours.

• The Canadian Standardbred Network is doing an organized feed and supply collection with three main collections sites: south of Edmonton, northeast of Calgary and southeast of Calgary. See the full poster at the WHR Facebook page, and share it. E-mail feedfortheflood@gmail.com for more info and to donate.

Cowboy Country Western Store, near the hub of the disaster has been collecting goods and clothes all day. Stop in or check their Facebook page for ways to contribute.

• Equine Care and Keep is accepting emergency placements of horses and can accommodate up to 10 head. For those within 75 kilometers of Water Valley, proprietor, Sandy Avery is offering complimentary transport and care. If you need emergency placement contact Sandy directly at (403) 510-8324.

• The Cochrane Ag Society is offering up their barn for housing any animals needing emergency shelter. Water on site, but no feed. Call (403) 973-3250.

• The Equi-Health Canada Home Ranch, Higher Trails is accepting emergency placements of horses/trailers. They are on high ground off Highway 7 between Okotoks and Black Diamond and can accommodate up to 30 head. For emergency placement of horses contact (403) 700-9152.

• The Bowden AG Society has offered to open up the rodeo and camp grounds for people displaced by the flooding and they have opened the showers and bathrooms. Call (403) 507-7664.

• The Didsbury Ag Society is offering free stabling for anyone in need. Must supply own shavings, and strip stall when finished. Contact 403-335-3642 for access to stables.

Alberta Stables Directory has three separate Events created on their Facebook page which are currently receiving many offers of horse and pet housing. Many are also offering to trailer to distressed areas and haul horses out if necessary.

• The Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association has many offers of board and housing up on their Facebook page.

• A few of the personal offers: Vickie Chubocha, near Calmar has round bales she would donate for anyone who wishes to come and pick them up. Call her directly at 780-985-7203 or cell 780-977-0342. Janis is east of Innisfail and offers up a couple of stalls, paddocks, extra bedroom and a travel trailer that sleeps 8. Call her at (403) 227-1019. Several others sent me notes of pastures, paddocks and stalls – message me directly if you need to place your horses.

Tudor Tack in Edmonton, Alberta is offering to donate all the GST of sales tomorrow (June 22) to feed for the flood. As well, they have a donation box set up.

• The Calgary Humane Society earlier reported they were looking for large dog kennels or crates – their Facebook page now reports they have received enough. They are also welcoming any animals which need emergency boarding. Their address is 4455 110th Ave SE, Calgary.

• Calgary Major Naheed Nenshi posted on Facebook yesterday: “evacuation reception centres are fully-staffed and have all the food they need. However, we will need everyone once the water levels return to normal. The eventual cleanup will be a huge undertaking that will need every one of us to pitch in. Please stay tuned for details on that.”

Neighbour Link Calgary reported this morning they are collecting supplies to take out to the Siksika Nation, which has been hit hard with flooding. See their Facebook page and Twitter feed for more information.

• In Calgary, if you want to help, If you want to help, follo /use the hashtag #yychelps and sign up at http://www.yychelps.ca.

• Donate to @redcrosscanada Calgary flood relief either online http://www.redcross.ca/who-we-are/red-cross-stories/2013/red-cross-responding-to-alberta-flooding … or txt REDCROSS to 30333 and donate $5.00.

• Paul Brandt tweeted another donation option: Text REACH to 45678 to give $10 to @builditforward, proceeds to recovery for #abflood! #ABStrong

A special call-out of thanks to the local Hutterite colonies who have been cooking non-stop, and calling in supplied from nearby colonies. Be sure to say thank-you to the true neighbours we have in the colonies.

SHOW AND RODEO CANCELLATIONS:

• The Sundre Rodeo, scheduled for this weekend, has been cancelled.

• The Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association Stock Horse Show in Claresholm this weekend, June 21 – 23, has been cancelled.  Claresholm has offered the association the use of their arena next week so the new show dates will be June 28 – 30. Competitors must re-enter for the June-30 show.

The power of community in times of disaster is truly amazing and there are many heartwarming stories emerging already. Feel free to e-mail me directly at ingrids@efirehose.net with updates and news you may have, and I’ll continue to update this list.