September 27, 2013
That’s the amount of time passed since floodwaters devastated many areas of southern Alberta.
As President and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS), I’m proud of the contributions our organization has made to relief efforts, in the immediate aftermath of the floods and in the ongoing efforts to support those Albertans still affected by this natural disaster.
Our staff were there, on the front lines and behind the scenes, making a difference when the flooding occurred.
AHS teams across the province, especially in our Central, Calgary and South zones, quickly mobilized and did what needed to get done under trying conditions.
Health and continuing care facilities in Calgary, High River, Drumheller and Sundre were promptly and safely evacuated; in the Calgary Zone alone, more than 1,000 patients and continuing care residents were relocated within the first 24 hours of flooding. More than 125 additional patients were moved in the Central Zone.
A field hospital was quickly established in north Medicine Hat, designed to provide emergency and maternity care to residents in the event they were unable to reach Medicine Hat Regional Hospital.
Roving mental health teams travelled throughout High River to ensure all residents could access services and emotional support, regardless of where they were residing. We also directed people to community clinics, telephone helplines, online resources and education sessions to help them cope with the aftermath of flood.
EMS crews from across the province travelled to affected communities to help with relocating patients, and AHS staff worked with community partners to establish reception centres where displaced Albertans could get food and shelter, as well as medical and emotional help.
There are also many individual stories to tell; too many to mention here. I invite you to read about them on our flood relief webpage.
AHS continues to collaborate with government and our community partners to support Albertans still affected by the flood. Environmental public health staff are in High River right now, assisting many residents with the remediation of their homes, supporting new temporary neighbourhoods, helping businesses reopen safely, and testing water and soil to ensure both are safe.
Albertans have done much in the past 100 days.
But where there are Albertans who are still struggling, who need medical assistance or emotional support, AHS will be there to lead, to listen, to pitch in, and to extend a helping hand.
And to the staff, physicians and volunteers of AHS, I say thank you for the hard work and dedication you display every day, and for going above and beyond when Albertans needed you the most.
Dr. Chris Eagle
President & CEO