ALBERTA

Calgary Flood Photos: Residents, Businesses Pick Up Pieces

06/24/2013 11:30 EDT | Updated 06/24/2013 11:31 EDT

Calgary residents and business owners are returning to survey the damage done by what Alberta Premier Alison Redford has now declared to be the worst flood in the province's history.

Calgarians have been warned there is still a long way to go before the city and its downtown would be back to normal, although crews were working hard to clean up and restore utilities. The city's head of emergency management said on Sunday that it could be weeks or even months before some areas of the downtown core have power restored.

People in High River, the community hardest hit by the flooding, didn't have much reason for optimism. Mayor Emile Blokland said there was still no timeline for when 13,000 evacuees would be able to return.

He said he understood their frustration, but explained that the town's infrastructure had suffered a "critical blow'' and every house needed to be inspected.

Photos from social media make it clear why High River is still off limits

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Calgary Returns Home

Many Calgarians returned home to find their dwellings devastated and their belongings destroyed. Many, however, were impressed to find letters from the city waiting for them with directions on what to do next.

 

While most businesses in Calgary's core remain closed, the city hopes to have things back up and running before long. For now, though, Mayor Naheed Nenshi is telling workers to remain home on Monday and Tuesday, according to the Calgary Sun.

The city says it thinks 90 to 95 per cent of buildings downtown could be open for business by by the end of the week.

But it will take a long time and lots of help before commerce returns to normal in Alberta's largest city. Adam Legge, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, told the Sun he thinks retails, tourism and business services will be hardest hit. Cindy Ady, the CEO of tourism Calgary, said "about 10 per cent of Calgary’s workforce is in tourism and hospitality."

Meanwhile, major companies operating in Calgary are rolling out contingency plans to deal with the chaos, according to the National Post.

Employees of the natural gas company Encana were told to work remotely while workers at Suncor, Canada's largest oil company, were being spread out over satellite office outside the core.

The offices of Imperial Oil and Canada's National Energy Board both remain closed.

Enbridge Inc. has shut off two major pipelines from the oil sands just to be safe.

Evacuees are also returning home in Canmore, which was hit by some of the worst of the flooding. Boil water advisories, highway closures and power outages are still in effect throughout much of the Bow Valley.

Canmore residents began returning on Saturday. Some found red marks on their homes indicating they cannot enter until an engineer decides the structure is safe, according to the Calgary Herald.

Were you evacuated from your home? Has your business or job been affected by the floods? Share your stories in the comments below.

With files from The Canadian Press