Alberta

Province continues to support flood response efforts in Wood Buffalo, Mackenzie County

News Release

Update 4: 2020 spring flooding (May 1 at 2:30 p.m.)

The province continues to support flood response efforts in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Mackenzie County. Parts of Fort McMurray have reopened.

Current situation

  • Flooding, due to ice jams on the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers in Fort McMurray and the Peace River in Mackenzie County, has led to evacuation orders for some residents of Fort McMurray, Fort Vermilion, Little Red River Cree Nation at Garden River and Tall Cree First Nation at Beaver Ranch.
  • Ice runs continue on the Clearwater River. Water levels may increase, however Alberta’s River Forecast Centre is not expecting further flooding.
  • Additional ice has accumulated at the jam near Garden River. The head of the 44-kilometre jam is now 20 kilometres upstream of Garden River.
  • The ice jam on the Athabasca River at Fort McMurray is now nine kilometres long.

Evacuation orders

  • In the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, a mandatory evacuation order remains in place for Riedel Street southeast to Clearwater Drive, Franklin Avenue southeast to Clearwater Drive, King Street southeast to Clearwater Drive, and the communities of Draper, Waterways and Longboat Landing.
  • The mandatory evacuation order for MacDonald Island, all downtown streets northwest of Riedel Street and all downtown streets northwest of King Street between Highway 63 and Franklin Avenue is being lifted as of 2 p.m. today.
  • Mackenzie County has issued a mandatory evacuation order for the residents within the Hamlet of Fort Vermilion that reside east of 50th Street, north of the golf course, River Road and Boreal Housing, and all of North Vermilion (Buttertown).
  • Little Red River Cree Nation issued an evacuation order on April 28 for Garden River.
  • As of April 29:
    • About 13,000 people from Fort McMurray were evacuated to hotels, work camp facilities and private accommodations.
    • About 455 people were evacuated from Fort Vermilion to hotels in High Level and private accommodations.
    • 749 people from Little Red River Cree Nation have been evacuated.

Information for evacuees

  • The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is asking evacuees to register even if they are staying in private accommodation.
  • The municipality is also asking evacuees to register directly with the Canadian Red Cross by calling 1-800-863-6582 (between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. MT) in order to receive information on further assistance and support programs.
  • Canada Post has suspended all mail delivery to Fort McMurray. Residents can visit the link or call 1-866-607-6301 for updates.
  • Evacuees needing pet supplies are asked to contact the Fort McMurray SPCA at 780-742-8997.
  • In Mackenzie County, residents should register by calling 780-927-3718.
  • Tallcree First Nation members are in direct contact with the Tribal Government.
  • Little Red River Cree Nation has established a reception centre at John D’Or School.

Emergency evacuation payments

  • Residents of northern Alberta who were evacuated due to spring floods will receive funding of $1,250 per adult and $500 per dependent child.
  • Evacuees can apply for their emergency evacuation payments online beginning May 4, at noon. It can take up to 24 hours for funds to be e-transferred into bank accounts.
  • Information on the application process can be found at alberta.ca/emergency, starting May 4.

Education-related information

  • Two schools in Fort McMurray (Fort McMurray Composite High School and Father Turcotte School) and at least one school in Fort Vermilion (St. Mary’s Elementary School) are reportedly affected by floodwaters.
  • Damage will be assessed once floodwaters recede.
  • At-home instruction for Fort McMurray students is cancelled for the remainder of the week by the public, Catholic and Francophone school authorities.
  • At-home instruction continues in Fort Vermilion.

Health-related information

  • At this time, health-care services in Fort McMurray and Mackenzie County remain operational and are available to serve residents.
  • AHS resources are available to help 24-7:
    • Call Health Link at 811.
    • Contact the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322.
    • Contact the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642.
    • For emergencies, call 911 or go directly to the emergency department.
  • Fort McMurray’s Northern Lights Regional Healthcare Centre remains operational and available to serve residents.
  • Dialysis patients have been receiving treatment at the William J. Cadzow – Lac La Biche Healthcare Centre, and clean and sterilized medical devices and equipment are being supplied by Lac La Biche and the Edmonton zone.
  • Fort Vermilion’s St. Theresa General Hospital remains operational, but has not resumed laundry services due to quality of the local water supply. The site is receiving clean linens from other local AHS facilities.
  • AHS public health inspectors are in Fort McMurray and are prepared to proceed with inspections and support re-entry once the Regional Emergency Coordination Centre gives the go-ahead.
  • AHS environmental public inspectors will be in Fort Vermilion today to assist Mackenzie County with inspections.                        

Drinking water and wastewater facilities

  • Boil water advisories remain in place for all of Fort McMurray, Fort Vermilion and rural hamlets of Anzac, Draper, Gregoire Lake Estates, and Saprae Creek Estates.

River conditions – Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers

  • From its peak, water levels have dropped more than seven metres along the Athabasca River.
  • The ice toe of the Athabasca jam released overnight. The River Forecast Centre is not expecting flooding as a result of this ice moving downstream.
  • Aerial observations confirm that ice in the jam has started to melt at the mouth of the Clearwater River.
  • Ice runs along the Clearwater River are expected to continue for the next few days. No flooding is expected as a result.

River conditions – Peace River

  • Water levels in Fort Vermilion and Beaver Ranch have fallen to pre-breakup levels. Flooding is localized to low-lying areas where water cannot make its way back to the river.
  • A 44-kilometre ice jam is impacting Garden River. The head is located 20 kilometres upstream of Garden River. No houses are reported flooded in Garden River.

Access to justice

  • Due to flooding, the Fort McMurray courthouse is closed until further notice.
  • All matters that were to be heard there from April 28 to May 4 will be heard at St. Albert provincial court.
  • For questions, contact St. Albert provincial court at 780-458-7305 or the contact centre at 1-855-738-4747.
  • Information on the status of court matters and services is available at albertacourts.ca.

How Albertans can help

While no flood-specific campaigns are currently underway, Albertans can make donations to humanitarian organizations that are assisting in flood-impacted communities.
Red Cross:  Online at www.redcross.ca/in-your-community/alberta or at 1-800-418-1111
Salvation Army: Online at https://secure.salvationarmy.ca/registrant/DonationPage.aspx or at 1-800-725-2769.

Albertans who live in affected areas should look for updates from their local government regarding evacuations and closures and download the Alberta Emergency Alert app. For the latest information on river conditions, visit rivers.alberta.ca or download the Alberta Rivers app.

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