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Conflict And Struggle

Flood couldn't dampen spirits

Regina Leader-Post
April 12, 1971 p. 1

By Harvey Oberfeld and Nick Hunter, Staff Reporters

If there was one over-all feeling to be experienced on the scene of the worst flooding in Regina's history it had to be the almost-fiesta atmosphere which reigned through most of the day.

Victims and visitors alike mingled, joked and told stories of early-morning evacuations of people, pets and property, with each account gaining in scope and vigor as the day wore on.

At some locations on the river bank, cameras outnumbered sandbags and sightseers on their way to and from Easter Sunday services in nearby churches mingled with volunteer workers -- some of whom had been assisting since 5 a.m.

The volunteers came from all parts of the city and from every walk of life.

The Regina-Emergency Measures Organization, the Canadian Forces Militia, the St. John Ambulance, the Plains Citizen Band Radio Club and the Salvation Army joined forces to help in sandbagging, traffic control, relief operators and maintaining an instant communications network.

According to Superintendent Denis Chisholm of the city police, this was the first time a comprehensive emergency operation centre was set up in the gymnasium of the police station, and the effort proved completely succesful.

A command control centre at the site monitored radio and telephone data from volunteers stationed at strategic points and relayed progress reports to the central operation centre.

Other volunteer workers came from the city transit department; the city engineer's department, the health department, fire and police departments, personnel office and the Canada Manpower Centre.

The provincial central vehicle agency supplied cars for use by volunteers, while the provincial purchasing agency brought in emegency supplies, Sask Tel donated communications equipment and Sask Power and the Legion of Frontiersmen came in with assistance as well.

Workers from the provincial welfare department set up facilities at the Armory to house displaced persons and also provided food for volunteers.

However, according to Gordon Tanner, provincial director of EMO, few people required accomodation at the Armory. Most flood victims obtained help from friends and relatives living elsewhere in the city.

Some residents refused to leave their homes, despite assurances from city police that the area under water would be well patrolled by boat during the night.

"Some people hesitate to leave, because they don't want to leave their belongings," commented Patrol Sgt. Bill Nichol.

Supt. Chisholm said there were no cases of malicious damage or looting reported during the day.

But for about 400 residents along Wascana Creek this was the only good news they heard all day.