Province commits $147M to victims of northern Alberta floods
Published Friday, May 8, 2020 2:29PM MDT Last Updated Friday, May 8, 2020 3:44PM MDT
EDMONTON -- The government of Alberta pledged $147 million to help northern Albertans recover and rebuild from devastating, once-in-a-generation spring floods.
Premier Jason Kenney, Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu and local MLAs revealed the financial supports in a Friday news conference.
"This year, this spring was something else," said Kenney. "A one-in-100-year event in Fort McMurray triggered by an ice jam that was, at one point, 23 kilometres long."
Northern communities like Fort McMurray, Fort Vermilion and MacKenzie County are picking up the pieces after ice jams caused the Athabasca, Clearwater and Peace rivers to overflow.
Large swaths of downtown Fort McMurray, population 66,573, were underwater and roughly 13,000 people were evacuated their homes.
Kenney said more than 3,000 people remained out of their homes in the Wood Buffalo region. A boil water advisory is expected to remain in effect for "some time to come," he added.
While Fort McMurray has had its share of challenges before with the 2016 fires and flooding in other years, Kenney said this disaster was made worse against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the energy sector crash.
"The people of northern Alberta and all the affected communities are made of very tough stuff," he said. "Generation after generation has endured these kinds of natural disasters and economic downturns."
Wood Buffalo Mayor Don Scott previously estimated there to be over $100 million in damages, and said he'd like to see the province make a comparable contribution as it did in 2013 after High River flooded.