Disaster dilemma

Inspiring volunteerism

Every couple of years (it seems more frequent nowadays) a natural disaster strikes our country. And each time, the outpouring of public support amazes me.

Eastern Ontario and Quebec received April’s average rainfall accumulation in a couple of days, completely inundating the already saturated ground and rivers. As quickly as the rain storm came, people’s houses were flooded, and people were ordered to evacuate.

More than 2,000 people have been evacuated from Gatineau, Montreal, St. John, and other areas in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes. When the floodwaters recede, we will see the full extent of the damage.

Friends, neighbours, emergency service workers and the military are working together to help those affected by the floods.

Volunteers do not seem to hesitate to jump in and help, using boats to move people, filling sandbanks to protect homes, donating food and donating money to the Red Cross.

In times like these, seeing people selflessly giving back through the hopelessness and disaster, I feel proud to be Canadian.  

As Canada Day approaches and we celebrate 150 years since Confederation, let us celebrate our patriotism, our selfless volunteerism and our communities.

When we have each other’s backs, we can last at least another 150 years.

– Olivia


Concern for first responders

Last year Canadians were faced with the Fort McMurray wildfire – this year we’re faced with Quebec flooding.

As of May 9 the Globe and Mail reported that more than 2,500 residences were flooded yet only about 2,000 people were evacuated.

It begs the question, why don’t the number of flooded residences match the number of people evacuated?

Having never experienced a natural disaster, I have no idea how I would react. Would I want to remain in my home to protect belongings or would I be willing to let go in fear for my life? I hope I’d choose the latter.

Evacuation orders don’t come lightly. But to each their own. People can’t be forced from their homes. It’s their decision as to whether they stay or go.

The concern comes for first responders, the people who put their lives on the line to save someone else. The high-stakes rescues needed when flooding occurs would put anyone on edge. And while necessary in emergencies, the heroic measures often result from someone disobeying evacuation orders or thinking they can ride out the storm.

By ignoring the order people are not only risking their lives, they risk the lives of their potential rescuers as well, taking them away from immediate emergencies that may not have been preventable.

– Jaime

Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik