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Publication: Winnipeg Free Press Monday, May 22, 1950

You are currently viewing page 2 of: Winnipeg Free Press Monday, May 22, 1950

   Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - May 22, 1950, Winnipeg, Manitoba                               r This word and picture report of the 1950 Mani- toba, flood has been published by the Winnipeg Free Presi, free of cost, for the Manitoba Flood Relief fund. Winnipeg Free Press SPECIAL FLOOD BULLETIN WINNIPEG, MAY 22, 1950 CANADA'S WORST FLOOD DISASTER Great City Is Fighting For Its Life BY SAM STREET This is the word and picture story of Hie worst flood disaster in Canada's history the story of a catastrophic inundation that covered an estimated 600 square miles of some of the richest farm-land in North America to a depth of from one to 15 feet. It is the story of an all-but-paralyzed great city of over people, fighting grimly as the waters of their usually placid rivers strive to take over. More. It is the story of thousands of ordinary people who have lost everything, .but who continue their battle, each helping 'the other against a common foe. Canada's fourth largest city has been at grips with a record flood for more than two weeks as this is written. Dikes could not hold back the surging river in the Riverview area of Winnipeg. It swept across the peninsula-like point, swamp- ing three municipal hospitals and hundreds of homes. In left centre, the hospitals stand neglected abandoned. At lower left is the gigantic Lyndale dike protecting low-lying Norwood homes, in the background St. Vital 100 per cent, flooded. A thin fringe of trees and bush marks the former bank of the river. Urgent Pi Winnipeg Calling Her Distant Sons (Editor's Note: Scotj a former Winnipeg' news- paperman and now one of Canada's prominent young' free lance writers, came back home to help fight the flood. He directs this appeal to every former Winnlpegger.) BV SCOTT YOUNG I didn't really know the meaning of the word volunteer until I saw the way-human beings in triis area reacted to the flood. I worked on the Norwood dikes for a few days and over there was a place we used to call the salt mines. It was a hag-filling depot and the trucks would roll in each morning with enough sand for bags. Usually, even before the trucks came, a few people would be toil- Ing away at the little bit of sand left fvom yesterday's loads. But when these new loads came and were' dumped along the blind bit of pavement by which Marion street plunges into the Red river, thfi .dozen-odd bag-fillers would- grow to thirty and fifty and a hundred and two hundred and in rain and sleet and snow they worked to fill the bags to save their homes. And nobody gave an order. That's what I mean about the meaning of the word volunteer. Nobody ever gave an order. No- body told a man to grab a shovel or a girl to grab an armful of bags, or-a school-kid to get some twine to tie them. When a truck came in to the salt mine's for full bags, nobody said, "Okay, let's load this one." But the driver would scarcely have his ignition turned off before the bags would be thudd- ing into the back of the truck from the arms of the volunteers. Back On The Job When the driver yelled that the load was big enough, the volun- teers would pick up their shovels again and get back, to the task. A few would jump aboard the truck to unload it at the other end. The work wai done if by I a secret of nignaU. I'vfe been thinking lately that perhaps there's a secret set of signals somewhere in each human being, and he just doesn't realize it. When a time comes that he is threatened and. his neighbor is threatened and his friends and family and even his enemies, set of signals takes over. They oper- ate' on a level above .the normal animosities of human beings. They created volunteers and saved Lon don and infected the world with good spirit 10 year 'ago, and this month they created volunteers who have saved those parts Greater Winnipeg which have bean saved The Signals From Winnipeg When you read about it, do you feel that set of signals working in you? Do you feel the set of signals telling you that you can help, no matter where you are? I'm former Winnipegger and when this flood got bad I just had to come back. I prefer to believe that the set of signals made me come. I renlize that everyone couldn't come to help on the dikes, but don't think because nf that you should just sit there and feel excited and gad and proud for the courage of Win- nipeg, because that really isn't enough. A lot of people have lost their shirts and they need money. When your set of signals prods you, reach for your wallet. rea A Eighty thousand voices a lopelessness? No. It is one in the ability of an inundated The proud people of a r Their farmlands lie at the the international boundary tc shells. Silt-laden flood, waters raised above any .previous fl If by their own efforts, those homeless could restore their land, their homes, their towns, their city, they would do it. Even with the odds so heavily weighted against them, even with damage estimates running to over they would try. And they will try. But they cannot do it alone. Not even the spirit that built the dikes, not even the courage that turned back the flood waters is enough. Manitoba must have help. She. has asked for it through the Manitoba Flood Relief fund. The appeal that has gone out across a nation, a continent, an was born in downtown Winnipeg traffic noises are submerged -in tie pulsation of pumps. It was announced quietly, without fanfare. But behind it the farmer from Morris who had to shoot .his flood-stranded cattle, who had to write off his 1950 crop. Behind It speaks the market gardener from St.' Nor- bert whose total land, house, car, truck, seed. Implements lie on the bed of a river run amuck. Behind It speaks the Wlnnl-pegger who down For By CLAIRE TISBALE isk for help. Is it a cry of despair? No. Is it a cry of of determination to rebuild in the ruins a cry of faith province to make a come-back. )roud province have been hit hard. j bottom of a lake that spreads its destructive length from the heart of Winnipeg. Their homes are abandoned swirl beneath the eaves-troughs. Furniture that was ood level is floating like -buoys on a sullen t L Take Lead In Flood Aid The Manitoba Flood Relief fund is headed toward its first million dollars. Money has come r from every province in Canada but by far the largest amount from any one, more than has come from Manitoba itself. In spite of their own prodigious losses, Manitobans are leading the way in the national campaign. The largest individual donation to the fund has come from the T. Eaton company and its em- j ployees. Together they have subscribed wi-.h the company matching dollar for dollar, every employee contribution. Here is -a breakdown of Eaton employee contributions: Winnipeg, Toronto, western stores, British Columbia, eastern stores Minimum objective in the national campaign has been set at However, campaign officials and for that matter anyone who has seen at first hand the enormous extent of the damage, are emphatic in stating that this is only the minimum required. Anything less will place an almost unbearable burden on the great, majority of flood victims. the Manitoba Flood Relief fund do the job your job. Every cent a new hope, every dollar new start. Your donation ii not charity it it an investment. Help those who have been hit harder than that was once a street to rescue a few belongings from his home. They do not ask for charity, those Manitobans made homeless by the greatest flood in the history of a nation. They ask only for help. They do not ask for someone else to do the whole job of restoration. They ask only for co-operation. Huge Amount Needed How big is the task? How large must be the fund that will pull Manitoba put of the hole? No one can answer that yet. No one can add up every flood-scarred house, every piece of ruined furniture, every item of sodden clothing. No one can calculate what it will cost to turn a wreck into a home again, an existence into a life. One thing is certain. No response, no matter how generous, could, ever hope to do more than meet the minimum need. No one can say "My donation would be too small to make any difference." Manitoba needs every cent that can be given. Her own people are answering the call. They i cannot miss It is right there, on the next section, in the next town, on the next street. The pest of Canada will answer the call. They Know The Newfoundland fisherman has not seen the river swell into a giant inland sea. But he knows that the people of Manitoba do not ask for help unless they are desperate. The British Columbia fruit grower has not seen the dike workers trudge from office to dike and from dike to office through long days and nights. But he knows that the people of Mani toba do not lie down on a job. The civil service employee in Ottawa has not seen the flooded basements, the submerged stoves and refrigerators. But he knows that the people of Manitoba do not ask for dollars unless then-own resources are exhausted. Rehabilitation, restoration they both mean the same thing. They mean a new life out of a ruin, a future hope oui of "a ruinous present. The Manitoba flood relief fund can do the job. Give it a chance by giving it a COPIES Additional copies of this flood bulletin may be obtained, post free, by writing or phoning Maitland'Steinkopi, vice-chairman, Manitoba division, Manitoba Flood Relief fund, 806 Somerset .building, Winnipeg, More than city and su- burban homes have been taken over either wholly or in part he still aggressive Red river. The total for the province is 500. This is a developing story and developing light. It develops against a back- ground floodwaters that, as .hey lie behind the dikes that hold :hem from complete victory, await the chance to ssveep over Winni- peg in a final coup rje grace. "We're Weary and Wet But We'll Win" 'Mayor Garnet Coulter, of Win- nipeg, had this slogan' placed in shiny lights over the city hall when things were at their grim- mest. The lights that illuminated his slogan shone never so bright as the spirit of the thousands who fought the watery battle as the sign flashed on. Self Help is the second slogan. Unilluminated, unpublished, un- sung, it is the driving force of the fight that continues as w e a t h ej: and heir utmost to undo the heroic efforts of the still-es- sential, still enthusiastic, still in- defatigable dikers, truckers, sand- bag fillers and all others. Manitoba is surviving the great- est bloodless disaster of her his- tory. But she is not doing it with- out casualties. Already have been left homeless. Overall damage to (he prov- ince and its capital has been estimated as at least 000. The flood battle so far has cost S4.qnO.000 nml (his tloHS not count Red Cross expendi- tures. Much of the Rpd river valley is a soggy, groggy desert of useless for the time no- one-knows how long. There have been larger floods in Manitoba !han I hat of 1950, but never any affecting so many people or as much properly. On other occasions, there has been as much unhappiness within he province, but world wars are fought elsewhere. This time the disaster came lo camp on Manitoba's doorstep. It ended by occupying the front room. Origins Of Flood It had ils origins in excessive! WHAT FLOOD HAS DONE Left Mani- tobans homeless. Covered Forced the greatest airlift Canada seen. Spartced the vastest mass evacuation in Can- ada's history persons. United Manitobans in a 'community that will win the battle. Baptiste and other R.ed river valley communities wastes of ever-rising water. Winnipeg, Manitoba and the world started to realize they were watching history. Crest Hits Emerson May 1 saw _the first Hood crest swirl through ..Emerson. Twenty- four hours later Dominion City was hit and so it went on. The flood was declared a na- tional emergency May 8. By that time the fight in Great- er Winnipeg was well under way. One by one, Greater Winnipeg bridges, dikes and arteries were broker, or closed. By May 3. Elm Park and Wild- wood Park in Fort Garry were flooding. Collapse of dikes soon made hundreds homeless. In Win- nipeg the battle lo save the power lines had started. Evacuation was advised May 10 by Brig. R. E. A. Morton, flood emergency chief. H i s declaration came two days after announce- ment of Ihe emergency state, four days after the Riverview dike was breached. On the same date. May 10, late at night, the East K i I- 
                    
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