Timeline of Events: High River
Among the hardest hit areas of the flood was High River, a small rural Alberta town just south of Calgary. On June 20, 2013, after flood waters from the nearby Highwood River inundated the town and continued to rise, all 13,000 residents of High River were ordered to evacuate. In response, approximately 350 Canadian Forces soldiers and 80 RCMP officers were dispatched to aid in response and rescue efforts. Due to the flash flooding characteristic of this event, there was very little prior warning that resulted in major damage to homes and infrastructure. For days after the flood, High Riverites were told not to enter the town or return home due to concerns of contaminated water, unsafe structures and environmental risks. Residents stayed in temporary housing until communities slowly started opening. Nearly two months after the June flooding, hundreds of residents still could not return home.
The recovery and restructuring process has proven difficult for High River residents as damage exceeded initial expectations. As a result, questions and concerns have been raised at the political level surrounding overland flood insurance, flood preparedness and future mitigation methods.