It’s been nearly a month since the major flood event and people in the two hardest hit parts of town are slowly working through the aftermath as best they can if they can.
Officials from local government and the Emergency Operations Centre are holding public meetings with residents in the areas affected.
I’ve tried to attend and record these meetings.
The first was in North Ruckle Friday June 8 at 4 PM. You can watch that below.
The third meeting is on Saturday afternoon in Johnson Flats.
The second was in South Ruckle and once that video is available it will also be watchable here. The reason for the delay is my fault: I ran out of battery on my main camera (lost the spare I brought), then ran out of memory on the cell phone I switched to. I recorded the last part with a third camera (360 video) but the audio might need adjusting to be able to hear some of the questioners.
Okay, for the reasons stated above the video is in two parts. Part 1 is below.
The second part is a 360 degree vr video so please don’t expect too much in the quality of the video or the audio (I have tried making people without microphones more audible but the whole thing gets a bit noisy)
The Johnson Flats meeting: (if this video is being shown as if it is a VR video I apologize. it isn’t and was not intended to be but somehow YouTube thinks it is. I’m working on fixing that)
Ruckle has become a sort of drive-through visit to a zone of devastation. A self guided driving tour appears to be taking place. Residents see a continuous stream of the curious slowly wending their way through the streets to see what they can.
As you drive through Ruckle and survey the damage what you see are piles of debris at the roadside on the edges of disheveled yards. And houses that appear, for the most part, intact and okay.
Well they are not okay – far from it. And Ruckle resident Marty Menzies would like you to know that the inside of those houses is the exact opposite of the outside. That many are little pieces of hell for the owners – especially the older folks and those who have been abandoned by their insurance companies. Marty asked me to come down and take a little visit inside one of these places so we can show you what they look like.
The first video is a short 360 degree video – you can choose which direction you want to look at any time. I make mention of a fridge being put in its strange location and setting by the water – I don’t know that for a fact but it’s happened with many appliance and other things all over the place.
The second is a more conventional one with Marty explaining the how and why of what you see.
While the emergency was taking place there were many volunteers filling and placing bags of sand to help fight against the water. Some of that took place in Ruckle but shortly into the emergency Ruckle was isolated legally as well as physically. Those who stayed to save their homes were faced with not being able to return if they left. Marty tells a bit of that from his perspective in the video below.
Now that the emergency is over a lot of the people who lived in those places find they are facing what appears to be a daunting, if not insurmountable, task of clean-up. And until Samaritan’s Purse or others show up, they are feeling pretty alone. Once the purse has done their job the owners are are left to face the rest. For many it’s bad – for some it’s feels like the end.
Sitting in the parking lot of the credit union I watched as an elderly man left the insurance agent. He had a piece of paper in his hand. As friends rode by on their bicycles they noticed him and came over to talk. From a distance it was easy to see he’d probably had the bad news that his insurance wasn’t going to cover his losses. And it was also easy to see that he was pretty shook up by it all.
In this time people are devastated and, just like when a loved one dies, unable to process information correctly or think straight. Making choices and decisions seems to be too much for them. Even doing simple arithmetic can escape some. And as Marty observed, a lot of the older people are hamstrung by an ethos that shies away from asking for help even though they likely need more than others. Please consider this in any dealings or interactions with them and be patient and understanding.
After the water had receded and people were allowed to return to their homes and businesses they were faced with a coloured placard.
Every Yellow or Red one flags a human story, a tale of woe for most – for some the worst moment in recent memory if not their life.
We have a small sample of Ruckle residents to tell their tale here. More will come.
RDKB EOC UPDATE:
7:30am May 15th 2018
No access permitted to Ruckle
Water levels are rising in the Ruckle area. No one is allowed to be in the Ruckle area. Police will be manning road blocks and restricting access without exception. This area has been under evacuation order from May 10th. This is in the interest of public safety.
Local authorities are expecting a flood event similar to what was experienced late last week for the Grand Forks area.
The Emergency Operations Center continues to work at full capacity. Planning and preparation carry on for the anticipated flood event. Crews continue to work on priority areas.
Many Grand Forks residents have registered with the Red Cross upon evacuation. Loved ones wanting to connect with them can call 250 442-1658 or 250 442-1556.
It is extremely important to be safe when near floodwater. River levels can rise
quickly and currents can be unpredictable. The ground can be soft and unstable
causing extremely poor footing. Exercise extreme caution.
The contact for the Emergency Operations Centre is 1-888-747-9119.”