Salvation Army responds to flooding in 3 Canadian provinces
States of emergency have been declared in communities across the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick as rising rivers from a combination of rapidly melting snow and heavy rainfall have forced thousands from their homes. As the waters began to rise, The Salvation Army provided practical, emotional and spiritual care to first responders, volunteers and individuals impacted by the flooding.
To underscore the seriousness of the situation, 2,000 military personnel have been deployed to provide assistance throughout Canada.
In Ontario, The Salvation Army is providing assistance in Ottawa and the surrounding areas to those affected by flooding along the Ottawa River. The response began on Good Friday, as local emergency disaster services (EDS) personnel deployed to provide food and emotional and spiritual care. As water levels continued to rise, more volunteers came out to lay sandbags.
To meet the increase in the number of people needing support, additional Salvation Army personnel traveled from across the country to assist with relief efforts. To date, more than 5,000 meals have been provided in the region. Elsewhere in Ontario, the Army is supporting people affected by flooding in Huntsville and Bracebridge.
“At the canteen location I served at, people worked hard on sandbagging to protect their homes,” explained one Salvation Army volunteer. “Many said their spirits and energy received a boost when they saw The Salvation Army.”
On April 27, The Salvation Army’s canteen in Constance Bay, just west of Ottawa, saw a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who also assisted with sandbagging efforts.
“Salvation Army EDS personnel will support relief efforts as long as necessary,” said Glenn van Gulik, Divisional Secretary for Public Relations, Ontario Central-East Division.
In Rigaud, Quebec, which also sits on the Ottawa River, The Salvation Army deployed officers to provide emotional and spiritual care to first responders since April 22.
In the province of New Brunswick, Salvation Army personnel mobilized in Fredericton, Saint John and Sussex to offer assistance. The Army’s Fredericton Community Church has been the center of the Army’s response in that city, providing meals, showers, food baskets, vouchers and other emergency aid.
“At The Salvation Army, we are starting to see an increase for shower usage as some areas have had their water tanks disconnected,” said Jan Keats, EDS coordinator, Maritime Division. “We will continue to assist those who require emergency supplies of food and water.”
In Grand Bay, Saint John, The Salvation Army received a request from the Fire Department to feed helpers who were filling sandbags at the local quarry. A community response unit and a team of volunteers answered the call, serving residents, volunteers and military personnel.
As flood waters begin to recede, the affected communities are developing longer-term rehabilitation plans, and The Salvation Army will assist in feeding volunteers and first responders during the recovery phase.