Alberta Canada Sees Worst Flooding In Decades/Early Monsoons in Northern India Kill Scores-Many Missing/City Of Lourdes in France Inundated



4 Feared Dead From Alberta Flooding

Four people may have died during Alberta's worst flooding in decades, according to the RCMP.

As Albertans faced more rain Friday, the downpour has left hundreds of homes semi-submerged, lifted railroad tracks and inundated the Calgary Stampede grounds.

At least 75,000 Calgarians have been forced out of their homes and large areas of the city's downtown core were set to be evacuated Thursday afternoon.

Two men were seen floating apparently lifeless in Highwood River, but their bodies have not been found

A woman and her camper were swept away in the Longview area of Highwood River. She has not been seen since.

A third man was seen falling from a canoe on the Highwood River, and it is unclear if he was able to get back into his canoe or make it to shore.

High River is about 60 kilometres south of Calgary.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is urging Calgarians to stay away from the downtown core, where about 350,000 people typically work. Only a small fraction of them were at work Friday, as employees were asked to take a family day and offices were closed ahead of the expected flooding.

Sections of the main north-south link through Calgary, the Deerfoot Trail, are expected to be shut down Friday afternoon, adding to the city's transportation troubles.

Officials have asked people in downtown Calgary buildings without power to consider leaving, said emergency management director Bruce Burrell. Most buildings in the downtown core appear to be without power, said CBC's Terry Reith from Calgary.

A central Calgary emergency family shelter was forced to relocate its 85 residents, including 45 children. The Inn from the Cold shelter lost electricity during the flooding.

"In all the years I've been down here, I've never seen the water this high," said Sunnyside resident John Doherty.

"I've got two antique pianos in the garage that I was going to rebuild and they're probably underwater," he said. "We're shell-shocked."

Most animals at the Calgary Zoo have been moved to higher ground to temporarily escape the city's rising floodwaters.

The flooding has resulted in mass evacuations throughout Calgary and southern areas of the province.

Banff issued evacuation orders for the Rocky Mountain Housing Co-operative Phase 2 after deeming it unsafe. Organizers of the inaugural Banff Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, cancelled the event.

Lethbridge and Medicine Hat declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon, with the flooding expected to move in their direction.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford warned today that people downstream of Calgary still "have not yet felt the full force" of flooding as swollen rivers overrun their banks.

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There is also information about helping people here.

And yet, the Alberta tarsands were cranking today as they have been everyday, adding more and more moisture and energy to the atmosphere.

This is the world we are making because we are addicted to oil.

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Early monsoon rains 48% above normal have also hit India killing scores.

India On "War Footing" As Monsoon Floods Kill Scores

DHARAMSALA — Early monsoon rains have swollen the Ganges, India's longest river, swept away houses, killed at least 60 people and left tens of thousands stranded, officials said on Tuesday.

The rains are at least twice as heavy as usual in northwest and central India as the June-September monsoon spreads north, covering the whole country a month faster than normal.

The National Disaster Management Authority said a response force of 12 teams of 45 people each had been in action since Sunday, in addition to the army and border police.

In the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, where officials say at least 60 people had been killed, air force helicopters airdropped commandos to help rescue some of the tens of thousands of people unable to move because of the floods.

"We are on a war footing, we are working day and night," said R. Rajesh Kumar, a district official in Uttarkashi, where two national highways have been blocked.

The district has set up 32 camps to provide food and water for about 5,000 pilgrims and tourists caught by the floods while visiting local holy sites. The Ganges is sacred to Hindus.

Rains, which were 48 percent above normal across India up until June 16, are expected to ease up in the next week, according to weather department officials.

In the eastern state of Orissa, flash floods destroyed at least 678 houses and damaged crops in storage, the state's deputy relief commissioner, P.R. Mohapatra, said.

So far, the rains have not hit the summer sowing season in India, as planting of rice, sugar, cotton and other agricultural produce is not yet in full swing.

India is one of the world's biggest producers and consumers of grains and about 55 percent of its farmland relies on the monsoon for water.

Heavy rain early in the June-September season makes planting easier, but if flooding persists, stagnant water can delay sowing or damage early rice shoots.



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Also in France:



Lourdes Devastated As France Counts Costs Of Freak Weather

Floods Damage Lourdes-Holy Site

By SCOTT SAYARE

PARIS — The waters of the Christian holy site of Lourdes, reputed for their powers of healing, have been cruel this week.

Snowmelt from the Pyrénées joined with heavy storms to form surging floodwaters in the rivers of southwestern France on Tuesday and Wednesday. The generally tranquil Gave de Pau, which cuts a sharp bend along the edge of Lourdes, rose by as much as 15 feet, officials said, spilling its banks and inundating the celebrated grotto and vast subterranean church there.

Pilgrimages were canceled and hotels evacuated. Officials of the Sanctuary of Notre Dame de Lourdes, a complex of soaring basilicas and chapels on and within the hillside above the grotto, partly closed the site on Tuesday, estimating that the flooding had caused several million dollars’ worth of damages.

And so Lourdes, visited by nearly six million pilgrims every year, many of them looking to be healed of pain and disease, turned to the faithful for financial relief.

“The sanctuary will not recover from the consequences of this natural disaster without the generosity of everyone!” read a mailing released by the sanctuary on Wednesday. The appeal included a mailing address for checks and a link to an online giving portal, as well as the sanctuary’s bank codes, for payment by wire transfer. Insurance is expected to cover much, but not all, of the damages.

“This leaves us quite traumatized,” Mayor Jean-Pierre Artiganave told Agence France-Presse.

The flooding could hardly have come at a less opportune time for Lourdes, whose economy depends heavily on the summer tourist season, when pilgrims — mostly Roman Catholic — from France, the rest of Europe and across the world flock to the holy site. Lourdes, a city of just 15,000, counts nearly 200 hotels, a concentration per square kilometer said to be second in France only to Paris.

Pilgrimages by several thousand faithful were canceled Wednesday and for the coming days, sanctuary and city officials said, though Masses were still being celebrated in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception above the cave. At least 1,000 other pilgrims were evacuated from hotels in the city center, according to Mr. Artiganave; floodwaters had swelled to “centennial” levels and reached the second story of some hotels along the banks of the Gave de Pau, Mr. Artiganave told the Paris newspaper Le Figaro.

Floodwaters in the region have killed two people in their 70s, destroyed roads and forced the evacuation of nearly 3,000 from their homes, according to Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who traveled to Lourdes on Wednesday. About 7,000 residents remained without electricity on Wednesday evening, French news media reported.>br>
The grotto, which reportedly filled with as much as five feet of water this week, is among the most visited pilgrimage sites in the Roman Catholic faith. It became known as a place of miracles after several reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary there in 1858.

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Also in reference to where I live, we have seen close to a foot of rain here in only three weeks time in the month of June alone. When you see half the Arctic melted you have to also then understand that energy created is going to come back down. More frequent, extreme and unpredictable floods and droughts are now predominant on this planet. India has also been suffering through an extreme heatwave with parts of Northern India in drought stage just last year. If you care about eating and feeding your family at the very least, all of these extreme events including the extreme flooding in Central Europe should be moving you beyond just reading this.

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