I know the hearts of all of us living in the Ottawa-Gatineau region have gone out to the residents who have been forced to leave their homes in recent weeks because of the flooding caused by the unusually high water levels of the Ottawa River and the heavy rain.
Hundreds of people living along the river in Ottawa, Gatineau and communities beyond have been affected by the flooding and have seen water enter their homes.
The good news, as reported in the media in the past few days, is that the water levels are finally receding. Of course, it will be many weeks and a lot of work before those affected residents will see their lives returning to normal.
As a resident and realtor in the Ottawa area for more than 30 years now, I was not surprised by the outpouring of support that we have seen from our community, from those wanting to help their neighbours in any way they can.
If you’d like to help with the flood recovery efforts and to assist those affected by the flood, the city of Ottawa website offers several ways you can help.
If you go to the site, at www.ottawa.ca, you will find links on the main page to essential flooding information as well as a link to tips to prevent basement flooding in your own home.
If you’re willing to help pitch in with flood recovery efforts, the city’s website, as of this writing, says it’s expecting that volunteers will be needed for at least another three weeks.
On the main page of the city’s website, scroll down to the link “Register to volunteer with flooding efforts.”
When you fill in contact information and availability, the city will forward the information to the command centres, which will contact you to schedule work if you are needed.
It doesn’t surprise me that as of earlier this week, the city reported that more than 2,000 volunteers had already signed up.
The city emphasizes that anyone who assists with flood recovery should wash their hands thoroughly after any contact with the water or items that have been under water, as the water may contain contaminants.
Also on the city website, if you click on the “Flooding Information” link, you will find regularly updated information on the situation, as well as information on offering donations.
The site says the Salvation Army, for example, is accepting financial donations, as well as donations of gently used clothing and household items that will be needed by those whose belongings have been water-damaged.
The city says financial donations can also be made to the Canadian Red Cross’s Spring Floods Appeal web page, or by calling 1-800-418-1111. The city’s site has links as well.
In Ontario, the city’s site says, support from the Red Cross “will be provided based on needs identified across impacted regions as the Canada Red Cross works alongside local authorities, like the city of Ottawa.”
The images we’ve seen in recent weeks are also a reminder that even for those of us who do not live immediately adjacent to a river, emergencies of various kinds can arise that might require us to leave our homes at short notice someday.
If you enter “safety and emergency preparedness” in the search box of the city’s website, you’ll find tips on the kinds of emergency preparation kits we should have in our homes in the event of such emergencies.
Among the recommended items in the kit are bottled water, a first aid kid, copies of your important documents and non perishable food items. The kits can make it easier to leave your home quickly if necessary.
All of us at Nancy Benson and Associates offer our best wishes to those affected by the floodwaters as they work to recover in the challenging months ahead.