The director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency says 8,000 to 12,000 city residents will be out of their homes “for a long time” after last week’s devastating flooding.
Bruce Burrell made the prediction Friday morning at a press briefing where he also noted that while floodwaters have receded greatly, the Elbow and Bow rivers are still at the levels they reached during the flood of 2005.
Calgary remains in a state of emergency for at least another week as officials continue to try to restore services to affected areas and get residents safely back into their homes.
“We’re only in preliminary stages of building assessment. There are some homes that we have already had engineers go out and look at because they’re the ones that are more precarious,” he said.
“We are starting to put some black dots on the map. Black means the home cannot be restored or recovered.”
Hundreds of specialists, including some brought in from Vancouver and Edmonton, are conducting the assessments.
At the peak of last week’s flooding, the Bow River was flowing at a rate of 2,750 cubic metres per second, Burrell said. Normally in June the flow would not reach 300 cubic metres per second, according to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Development.
Officials announced Friday that private businesses can now request help from city crews to pump out flood water.
Crews are already providing the service for homeowners.