June floods affected 14,500 homes

CALGARY — The Alberta government says more than 14,500 homes were damaged during severe flooding in June.

CALGARY — The Alberta government says more than 14,500 homes were damaged during severe flooding in June.

It also says 2,700 people are still living in temporary housing, in hotels or with friends and family.

The figures are in a two-month flood update provided by the province.

More than 8,000 applications for disaster recovery support are currently being processed and payments totalling nearly $7 million have so far been made.

Thousands of people in Calgary and surrounding communities were forced from their homes June 20 — including the entire community of High River that had to be evacuated.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford said earlier this week that provincial estimates show “well over” $5 billion will be needed to rebuild infrastructure, but she wasn’t clear what that includes.

She stressed the cost figure is evolving, because it’s “still early days.”

“As we look back, we can’t lose sight of those who are still dealing with this disaster every day,” Redford said in a statement marking the passing of two months Tuesday. “Thousands of Albertans are still unable to return home and many have extensive rebuilding still ahead of them.”

She has warned this week that tough times are ahead as the province tries to fit such a large cost into its budget. But she also noted that the province has saved money in other areas so far this year and there is about $2 billion to $3 billion in its savings account that can be used to cover flood costs.

She has pledged that infrastructure commitments in the province’s spring budget will still be met by borrowing to pay for all the building.

“As a province, be assured these efforts to rebuild will not be at the expense of the rest of the Alberta,” she said Tuesday. “We vowed to build all of Alberta, and we will.”

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