14:30EDT May 29 2012 – Do you need help? Facebook Group offers Connections

wet basements
Wet basements - Photo by Ken Silen
THUNDER BAY – Social media is demonstrating that it is a very solid tool for making a difference. During the flooding crisis in Thunder Bay, Facebook is showing itself as a tool that is connecting those who need help with those who can offer help. Thunder Bay Flood Assistance was started on Monday, and has grown in under a day to over 1200 people.

The project was started by Laury Alexander, the policy assistant for Mayor Hobbs. The project has grown over the past twenty-four hours to include over 1700 people. The page is serving as a contact point for those who need help, and for those who are offering to help.

The impact of the flooding is seen as being quite critical in the East End, but also in several other neighbourhoods across the city. Near John Street there are reports of people having up to five feet of water in their basements, and some of that flow is continuing to come in.

It has been suggested, but without official confirmation that this is due to pressure on the sewer system by people ignoring the requests to reduce consumption and not to flush toilets.

The next critical steps forward are moving to clean up.

There remains no official statements from either Thunder Bay area MPP on what the Ontario Government is doing in this emergency in Thunder Bay. At this morning’s press conference, Mayor Hobbs stated that the Prime Minister’s office, our two federal Members of Parliament, and the leader of the NDP had been in contact with him. Minister of Natural Resources, and Thunder Bay MPP Michael Gravelle’s department is involved in helping on several levels, but there remains no statement from MPP Gravelle or MPP Mauro on what the McGuinty Government is doing.

In many cases right now, in the community, it is the Salvation Army, Red Cross and dedicated volunteers who are helping people, along with the City of Thunder Bay.

Moving forward is, in many cases not going to be easy. Many people are impacted, and in some cases some of the people are those in our city most in need of help. In one case in the East End a twenty year old woman, who is six months pregnant has stated she has lost everything in her basement apartment. She is on Ontario Works, and getting back up on her feet won’t likely be easy.

In terms of cleaning up: The Government of Saskatchewan offers what appears to be a far more comprehensive document that is of value to home owners and affected tenants.

Government of Saskatchewan Cleaning Up After the Flood