Ottawa/Gatineau residents watched the rising Ottawa River warily as April progressed. As the combined forces of relentless rain and melting snow continued unabated, a dreaded but anticipated state of emergency was declared on April 26, 2019 and the following day by seven additional surrounding municipalities. Thankfully, CAM Canada’s Rapid Response Services (RRS) staff members were keeping a close eye on developments, and they took proactive steps before the river spilled its banks by building sandbag walls for worried homeowners.
The relief of local residents was short-lived as officials once again warned communities that flood waters would rise even higher. Suddenly, the existing sandbag walls were no longer high enough to withstand the rising water levels. RRS volunteers sprang into action and on April 26 and 27, dozens of caring people arrived at CAM Canada headquarters in Moorefield, Ontario to fill 20,000 sandbags. Local business owners with trucks and flatbed trailers lined up to haul 40 tonne loads to the flooded areas 6 hours away. Our own Anabaptist RRS volunteers and staff members worked valiantly on site to add height to existing walls. They worked side-by-side with hundreds of volunteers, local firefighters and other emergency personnel. Water pumps are running 24 hours a day in a dauntless effort to save homes.
What people are saying
“Thanks to all of your people for helping us here,” exclaimed a grateful recipient of CAM’s assistance. “We appreciate you so much!”
A member of CAM Canada RRS Unit #1 commented, “I enjoy bringing hope to people. It doesn’t make sense to people why we do this. I like to tell people that we are spreading the love of Jesus.”
Other unsuspecting residents weren’t so fortunate to save their homes from the devastation of floodwaters. “Here I am, kayaking in my own living room,” wept a discouraged homeowner as she surveyed the severe damages to her house. (1)
St. John’s New Brunswick
Meanwhile in St. John’s New Brunswick area, the local community was still recovering from the tragic floodwater damage of 2018 when the situation threatened to repeat itself again. In the week of April 29, 2019, the waters rose to heights that exceeded 2018 levels.
RRS Unit 4 – Debut
Thankfully, CAM Canada recently established Unit #4 in Nova Scotia and they are in the process of mobilizing to help people in the affected areas. A CAM Canada chaplain was dispatched to the area to help survey damage, share a message of hope to victims, and offer prayer and counsel to people dealing with a daunting hopelessness.
These tragedies of natural disaster bring a host of opportunities to God’s people – both practical and spiritual. CAM Canada RRS will continue to work in affected areas to help save homes and then later, cleanup in the subsequent weeks after floodwaters recede. Chaplains will be in the area, lending a helping hand and guiding people’s hearts and minds to the hope found in Jesus. A sociologist commented, “The impact [of disasters]on mental health can be profound.”(2) As people suffer material loss – some of them for the second time in two years – the sight of damage to their property and possessions can lead to extreme reactions and severe depression. When godly, caring CAM volunteers arrive in these situations to work hard, and share the love of Jesus with them, it brings a brilliant ray of sunshine and hope into their traumatized hearts.
There will be significant costs associated with Rapid Response Services projects this spring. Would you like to partner with us financially to help fund this ongoing work and investment into the lives of our fellow countrymen? If you wish to help, please choose from the options below.
God bless you!
- CBC Montreal, April 29, 2019
- CBC – The Current, April 30, 2019