Alberta floods: Thousands rescued as a flood gets worse

Image copyright Supplied Image caption Canada’s Farmer of the Year is Robert Routledge

Canadian farmers have plucked hundreds of cows from a flood-damaged region in Alberta after a month’s worth of rain fell in just two days.

As of Sunday, 17,000 people had been rescued from their homes, the Canadian government has said.

Officials are scrambling to deliver supplies such as food and clean-up supplies to people affected by the rising rivers in southern Alberta.

The floods started on 29 December and peaked on 1 January, leaving a massive mess in its wake.

“Every resident that has evacuated is back at home,” Assistant Premier Donna Kennedy-Glans said, adding: “We are not out of the woods yet.”

Some 58 communities had been affected by the floods.

“The communities impacted by this emergency are still battling the flooding today,” Ms Kennedy-Glans said.

The mass evacuation ordered across southern Alberta came after a series of storms brought flooding over the weekend.

Help is trickling in to the battered region. Schools in the area were closed and government offices shut on Monday, according to the Herald newspaper.

Authorities in the affected areas are warning people to stay away from dams, lakes and rivers and not to use power equipment.

Water levels are starting to drop, however, so relief is expected soon.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Flood water started to recede on Monday, but the disaster is not yet over

Authorities are still unsure if any of the dead people will be considered victims of the disaster.

The province’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has labelled the floods a “new normal”, saying the country would have to prepare for such floods to remain.

The Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley, has been criticised for her handling of the crisis.

More than 9,000 Canadian soldiers have been deployed to help with rescue efforts and help “ring sandbags around flood prone areas”.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The army has been enlisted to help save lives

After the deluge began on 29 December, at least 12 people were found dead.

Earlier in the day, a young boy was rescued from his flooded home by a soldier.

His mother, father and sister were found dead on New Year’s Day after a house was flooded.

One man was also killed after a motorist was swept away by a flash flood, police said.

“With floods of this magnitude, people need to understand that this is not just an ordinary rainfall event,” said Prabhdeep Singh Saini, an emergency response specialist from the Canadian Red Cross.

In Southern Ontario, one man died after a house collapsed.

Emergency services are advising residents of Brant County in western Ontario to evacuate.

The region has been declared a state of emergency and water levels are rising fast.

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