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Floods in Canada’s oil capital Calgary force 75,000 to flee homes

An "X" marks a door signalling that a house has been evacuated in the neighborhood of Sunnyside in Calgary, Alberta June 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

CALGARY, Alberta: Flooding shut down much of the center of Calgary, Canada’s oil capital and forced tens of thousands of residents to leave their soggy homes Friday. Heavy rain also closed roads and brought down bridges elsewhere in the province of Alberta, but there were no reports of death or injuries. A pipeline carrying deadly sour natural gas ruptured in Turner Valley Thursday.

More than 75,000 people, about 7 percent of Calgary’s 1.1 million residents, were ordered to evacuate their homes and take shelter with friends and relatives or in leisure centers.

City authorities urged people to stay at home and avoid travel Friday, with schools across the city closed.

“Getting downtown today is going to be very, very difficult; there are bridges and underpasses that are impassable. I am really telling people to stay at home with the family, avoid all nonessential travel and we will continue to do our work here,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Fast-growing Calgary, located on the Bow River, is the largest city in Alberta. It is some 750 km from the province’s main energy producing areas, which have not been affected by the latest flooding.

The city’s commuter train and many bus services were not running and many offices in the downtown core remained closed, with lights off and few people on the streets.

As many as 100 police officers from other regions have been drafted in to help maintain order, local media said.

More 100 millimeters of rain fell in some areas of Southern Alberta over the past two days, the Weather Network said, with precipitation expected to continue until Saturday.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 22, 2013, on page 8.

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