CALGARY – Today marks one year since the start of a flood forced 100,000 people from their homes in southern Alberta.
Four people drowned in floodwaters and a fifth was killed in an ATV accident while helping a neighbour sandbag.
The deluge swept through 30 communities and caused an estimated $6 billion in damage — the most costly natural disaster in Canadian history.
Commemoration ceremonies are being held all over the region, including in High River and Calgary, which were particularly hard hit.
Related: Alberta flood: Then and now (gallery)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, appeared on a video in Calgary, where officials and the public gathered in the municipal building to mark the anniversary.
The prime minister recalled the “dark days” of June 2013.
“One year ago some parts of our great province were under water. Property was destroyed, homes were washed away and precious memories lost,” he said.
But people never lost heart, added his wife.
“I will always remember the summer of 2013, not because of the height of the floodwaters, but because of the strength of the people here and the generosity of all Canadians,” the prime minister said.