Province Providing Supports For RMWB During Flood, Bombing of Ice Not Feasible At This Time

The provincial government is looking into supports to help people impacted by the floods.

Premier Jason Kenney and Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks, visited Fort McMurray on Monday to see firsthand the damage the floods has caused the Lower Townsite, Waterways, and Draper over the past couple of days.

The size of the flood is being considered a once in a century situation.

Speaking to reporters, Kenney says they’re providing the RMWB pumps, sandbags, and funding to help with the emergency response.

He adds they plan on looking into the possibility of helping evacuees financially.

“We’re gonna go back and look at whether we need to provide some emergency payments for people who’ve had to be evacuated, similar to what we did during the fire and what did for wildfires last summer.”

The GoA is also looking into sending more personnel to help with security and law enforcement.

A request has been made for members of the Canadian Forces to help. Kenney notes they’re still determining whether this is needed.

“So, we’ll see if perhaps beginning with the Alberta Sheriff’s Service and we’ll also talk to the RCMP to see if they can provide additional boots on the ground.”

The overall size of the ice jam, around 25 km, is reducing the amount of options to shrink it at this time.

There have been suggestions of using bombs to blow up sections, however, this is being considered too dangerous at this time as it could cause the ice to compact.

“There are tools that can be used for an ice jam at different stages including, possible, explosives as well as floating excavators,” added Nixon. “Currently, the problem is it’s so vast, 25 km, there’s no safe alternatives for us to be able to reduce that.”

Right now, all of the downtown core, except the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, has needed to be evacuated. A voluntary evacuation order has been issued for Grayling Terrace.

The municipality says over 12,000 people live in the impacted areas.

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