Canada's oil capital Calgary starts slow clean-up from floods

Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:50pm EDT
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By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's oil capital, Calgary, started the slow process of cleaning up its downtown on Tuesday in the aftermath of record-breaking floods, with many business owners returning for the first time to properties they were forced to leave last week.

Parts of the city's center were still without power, and most shops, hotels and businesses were closed for a fifth consecutive day.

"It's kind of spooky, it's so quiet," said Calgary resident Don Usselman, a remediation technologist, as he carried hoses to help pump out a basement. "But it's snapping back real quick. We are quite a resourceful lot."

City authorities have said it is still too early to estimate the costs of the floods in southern Alberta that left three people dead, devastated entire communities and forced at least 100,000 people from their homes in Calgary and elsewhere.

But they will far exceed C$400 million ($381 million) in damage caused by a flood in 2005, known at the time as the "flood of the century".

Although 60 percent of the downtown area now has power, Gianna Manes, chief executive of utility Enmax, said full restoration would take a number of days, given that the eastern edge of downtown is still waterlogged.


In the center of Calgary, a city of 1.1 million, some roads remained closed and most office buildings empty after Mayor Naheed Nenshi urged companies to allow non-essential employees to stay at home.   Continued...

A mud-covered exercise bike sits outside a home as residents clean up after floods in Calgary, Alberta June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Andy Clark