Calgary (where our organization is headquartered) and much of southern Alberta was devastated with a record-shattering flood last week. We received more than a month’s worth of rain in a day; and that, combined with melting snow in the nearby Rocky Mountains, created havoc.
While fortunately few lives were lost, the staggering losses of property, livelihood and infrastructure made this a particularly devastating storm – in fact, it is now considered the worst in Canadian history.
Dedicated first responders, volunteers, city workers, and governments at all levels have banded together to begin the cleanup. While optimism is high, realistically, it will take many years and billions of dollars to repair and restore what the raging torrents of muddy water destroyed. A long term effort, to be sure.
The staff and board members of Operation Eyesight offer our heartfelt condolences to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the flood, and our very best wishes for a rapid recovery effort. We recognize that for the next while at least, many Canadians will be directing their financial support to local relief efforts, and we completely understand that.
When a natural disaster like this strikes so close to home, it reminds us that we are all subject to the forces of nature. You know, for the past 50 years, Operation Eyesight has been working in the developing world, where people are routinely devastated by the power of natural disasters.
Just a few weeks ago, record-breaking flooding in the state of Uttarakhand, India led to immense loss of life, and now the contaminated water and poor sanitation are expected to lead to massive cholera and dysentery outbreaks. Elsewhere, the drought continues in East Africa, where so many have died or are starving.
You’re likely seeing a pattern here: water can be a terrible and destructive force, but clean safe water is necessary for life. That is why Operation Eyesight has been drilling waterpoints in Kenya and Zambia, areas where clean water is desperately needed to control the spread of trachoma.
Today, even though southern Albertans are surrounded by communities coping with tragedy, receding flood waters and mandatory boil water orders, we feel fortunate to be safe and have clean water to drink. We hope the next time you stop to fill up your water glass for a nice cold drink, you will pause and reflect on how fortunate you are, too.
Stay safe, friends!