Fort McMurray flood caused $228M in damage, says insurance bureau
EDMONTON -- A quarter of a billion dollars in damage was caused when a 25-kilometre ice jam caused water levels to flood downtown Fort McMurray earlier this year.
The quote of $228 million came Monday from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which said the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo counted 1,200 structures impacted – or about half of those damaged in the 2016 wildfire.
The Athabasca River ice jam caused water levels to rise between 4.5 and six metres throughout the area. Thirteen thousand people were evacuated between April 26 and May 2.
Residents remain under a boil water advisory as the water system is flushed. The work could take as long as into the fall, although officials say it is possible the advisory could be lifted in phases.
Mayor Don Scott and the provincial government called the disaster a once-in-a-century event, but the official insurance quote shadows Scott’s early estimate which placed damages over $100 million.
The mayor said many residents are still dealing with insurance claims from 2016, and others weren’t able to buy or afford flood insurance.
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In comparison, the City of Calgary says $6 billion in losses and property damage was counted across southern Alberta after the June 2013 flood, and the wildfires in northern Alberta in 2016 caused about $9 billion in damage.
The provincial government has promised $147 million to the R.M. of Wood Buffalo through the Disaster Recovery Program to rebuild.
Flood evacuees – including several hundred in Mackenzie County – also received an emergency cash payment from Alberta. The deadline to apply for the $1,250 assistance, and $500 per child, closes June 5.