THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay went through a flood in 2012. The Canadian Red Cross was on the ground, with local and volunteers from across Canada. Lynda Henshell from Thunder Bay is one of the volunteers who was helping in Calgary, and she just returned from a shift of helping in Calgary.
The disaster efforts are ongoing and lots of help is needed. Lynda has just returned and gave a short interview to NNL.
Red Cross on the Ground in Alberta
NNL: You are with the Red Cross here in Thunder Bay…. You were just out in Calgary. What was it like?
Lynda: It was sad in some ways but also good to see people coming together to help one another. I was working in the shelters with evacuees and hearing their stories was heartbreaking
NNL: How many people from Thunder Bay went to help in Calgary?
Lynda: There ended up being three of us in Calgary.
NNL: What were you doing in Calgary?
Lynda: I was working in the shelters, making sure the evacuees had what they needed. Like shampoo, clothing, toiletries etc.
What kinds of stories did people share with you?
Lynda: Mostly they were talking about being evacuated and how they ended up having to leave most of their stuff behind. One story that sticks out most in my mind was Steve’s story. He’s in a motorized wheel chair, and got stuck on his floor because the elevators weren’t working. His son came to help him and he ended up being carried down the stairs while his son brought his 200 bls chair he never would have been able to get out on his own. He was worried he’d be trapped on his floor in the dark or have to crawl down the stairs. I’m pretty sure he was on the ninth floor of the building.
The effort will go on for a long time. There were also a lot of stories from people who had come to Canada from other countries in turmoil. They were telling me how much the Red Cross helped them by giving shelter and food.
It is expected to take years for some communities to return to normal.
NNL: What can people in Thunder Bay, and across Canada do to help?
Lynda: Yes the red cross was in high river where a lot of homes have been destroyed.
NNL: Did the images we saw on television do justice to what is really going on in Calgary?
Lynda: No, images on television can never capture the devastation and loss some people have suffered. And it wasn’t just Calgary, many surrounding towns like High River and reservations, like Stoney First Nation in Morley were affected too.
NNL: Is there any advice you could offer Canadians on Flood.
Lynda: People should have a 72 hour emergency kit prepared just in case. More info can be found on the Red Cross website. Also, here in Thunder Bay, we are looking for people to join the disaster management team.