By Lyonel Doherty
Seeing the relief on victims’ faces is what Red Cross personnel love about their jobs.
Just ask Liam Devine, disaster management coordinator for B.C. / Yukon.
“I’m seeing a lot of relief on their faces, but there is still a lot of exhaustion,” he said in Oliver last Thursday.
Devine was among eight Red Cross staff representatives who met with approximately 20 flood victims from Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton and Keremeos. Some of the victims were from Sportsmen’s Bowl Road which is now open after being closed for eight weeks. An evacuation order has been lifted for many homes in the area after the road was repaired and floodwaters diverted.
Dennis Tomlin, one of the evacuees, said he and his wife were “pretty damn excited” to get back home. But it was a tough job cleaning up the mess left over from a flooded basement and ruined carpet.
“I lost 10 pounds; that was the good thing,” he chuckled.
Fellow evacuee Allen Lamb said it definitely feels good to be back home.
“After living in a trailer for 60 days, it (home) feels like living in a luxury hotel,” he laughed.
Lamb reported that he suffered some property damage after losing a quarter of an acre to flooding.
Devine said the Red Cross provided financial assistance to those directly impacted. The priorities are basic needs and medical needs, he pointed out.
Devine noted they provided assistance for lost medical equipment, food, clothing and furniture.
“People’s moods are a little more uplifted (now),” Devine said. “It’s amazing to see how much the community relies on each other and how resourceful people have been.”
Devine said helping people in crises is what Red Cross volunteers love to do, which creates bonds and friendships.