Canada floods: More Alberta cities placed on alert

  • Published
Media caption,

The site of the Calgary Stampede, which is due to take place in 2 weeks, is one of those flooded

More communities in the Canadian province of Alberta have been placed on flood alert as high water levels move downstream from the city of Calgary.

About 10,000 residents in low-lying areas of the city of Medicine Hat have been ordered to leave their homes.

In Calgary, river levels have receded but the city remains under a state of emergency.

The floods, triggered by torrential rain, have killed at least three people and displaced more than 100,000 others.

Calgary's emergency management agency chief Bruce Burrell said on Saturday they were seeing improvements in the city's two rivers - the Bow and Elbow.

The news prompted Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi to Tweet: "It's morning in Calgary! Sunny, water levels are down, and our spirit remains strong. We're not out of this, but maybe have turned corner."

However, he later warned that a state of emergency was still in effect.

More than 20 neighbourhoods in Calgary have been evacuated with an estimated 75,000 residents ordered from their homes.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Large areas of Calgary are still under water

The town of High River, south-west of Calgary, has been one of the hardest-hit areas and remained under an evacuation order. Police said they had recovered three bodies in the area.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford tweeted: "A very emotional day so far. The destruction in High River is indescribable. The town is resilient and we will rebuild."

She also warned on Saturday that towns and cities downstream of Calgary had not yet felt the full force of the floodwaters.

The focus of the emergency is now shifting to the southeast, Canadian broadcaster CBC reported, towards the cities of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.

In Medicine Hat, the South Saskatchewan River is not expected to peak until Monday and many residents are being evacuated to a local college, CBC said, citing officials.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he never imagined the city could suffer a flood of such magnitude.

"This is incredible. I've seen a little bit of flooding in Calgary before. I don't think any of us have seen anything like this before. The magnitude is just extraordinary," he said.

The floods come after torrential rain swept Alberta, capped by a 4in (10cm) downpour on Thursday.

The deluge washed away roads and bridges, cut power lines and submerged hundreds of homes.