Yesterday I woke up to a surreal situation. Calgary, Alberta, Canada, my hometown, the place where I have lived since birth, was declared to be in a state of emergency due to flooding. I heard it on the news and then went straight to my twitter account to gain all the latest up to date information.
The first thing everyone I know did was touch base with each other and make sure that everyone was ok. – Thankfully everyone I knew was safe, even if they had to be evacuated. I had many conversations like the following:
Verena Roberts @verenanz 20 Jun
@deirdrebailey Just checking in on you… @ErinCouillard @EHordyskiLuong @SSpellmanCann @Stephkrammer
. Erin Luong @EHordyskiLuong 21 Jun
@verenanz thanks for checking on… How about u?
Susan Spellman Cann @SSpellmanCann
@verenanz @deirdrebailey @ErinCouillard @EHordyskiLuong @Stephkrammer thx for checking hope all are safe
Thanks to the power of social media, my family from all over the world had heard about the flooding (even my father in Kuwait and uncle in New Zealand had heard the news), but I was also able to reassure everyone that my family was ok.
My mom and stepdad live on the opposite side of the city. Flooding made it impossible for us to physically reach each other, but texting and phones helped us feel connected.
An uncle from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, called to give our family advice around plumbing and keeping our drinking water safe. I was very touched that he took the time to reach out to us, and also awed by the power of social media.
Throughout the day I was constantly receiving updates via twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and email not only about the tragedy and loss of property and park space (here are a few pics from a few blocks from my house) …
But also of inspiration and hope as I learned about other citizens, as well as students from my own high school I teach at, who were coming together to support our community.
I had forgotten that the military does more than go over seas. I was so grateful to see the tanks driving in to help out.
Volunteers were helping out all over supporting our vulnerable citizens and animals around the area. The big cats from the Calgary Zoo were even moved into the court house for safe keeping as Princess Island is totally under water.
Requests for volunteer support were both given and accepted on social media sites such as Twitter and Kijiji. An email from my church in the evening asking for sleeping bags and supplies was met with a quick response.
Now 24 hours later I can’t imagine how much more isolated and scared my family would have felt if we did not have all of these 21st century connections. Personally I am thankful that my family is both safe and plugged in this evening.
Sending love and prayers out over the net to all those affected by the Alberta floods.