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Calgary community groups pen letter pleading for provincial storm support

Northeast Calgary communities are banding together to plead for provincial help following a devastating storm just over a week ago.

A hailstorm producing tennis ball-sized hail battered homes and vehicles in Calgary’s northeast June 13. The savage storm flooded roadways and left cars and properties unrecognizable.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said at the time he would be surprised if the storm wasn’t one of the top 5 most insured disasters in Canadian history.

It’s also the second time in four years that people in these communities have made a storm insurance claim on their property.

The communities’ plea for help

Calgary community leader Khalil Karbani, wrote a letter on behalf of 10 community and cultural groups in northeast Calgary. The letter, addressed to Premier Jason Kenney, asked the province to provide assistance.

Karbani’s email outlines that northeast communities have been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions, with many area residents out of work.

“Given the severity of the hailstorm and prevailing economic conditions, it is simply not practical for the residents to recover from this disaster without significant support from their government,” the letter read.

He said that the hailstorm has financially crippled some families. It has the potential to create long-term instability within the community.

Jason Kenney Hailstorm Calg… by Darren Krause on Scribd

Karbani said he hopes that the provincial government will help ease the financial burden by declaring a natural disaster.

“The idea is that we want to lobby the provincial government to call this a natural disaster. By doing that, it means that they can then request the federal government to give them financial aid,” he said

“This money would come to the province. Then subsequently come to us, because we are actually really suffering financially.”

No help from insurers, Karbani said

Karbani asked for help from the government because he said the community isn’t getting the break from insurance companies.

He said that deductibles from insurance companies are putting a strain on families not working as a result of COVID-19. Other insurance companies won’t cover the cost of all the damage to property or cars.

He hopes that with the government’s assistance, these hard-hit communities can return to some normal operation.

“We’re generally a very close-knit community but right now you do feel a little sadness in people. You see them not working and with COVID scenarios going around and then this storm,” he said.

“You know there’s only a certain amount that anyone can take, but a lot of people are almost at that breaking point right now.”

The Government is working on it

In a statement, Alberta Municipal Affairs said they’re working on a solution. They said it’s also up to insurance companies to “step up” for their customers.

“The government is continuing to determine whether or not this storm meets the threshold for a Disaster Recovery Program,” the statement reads.

“But for insurable damage, we fully expect insurers to step up and deliver for their clients, and it appears they are.”

Area NDP MLA Irfan Sabir said the province are the ones not stepping up.

“Jason Kenney has abandoned those impacted by the hail storm. He keeps telling Calgarians to talk to their insurance provider, but clearly that isn’t enough,” said Sabir, MLA for Calgary-McCall.

“Many people were uninsured or underinsured after facing job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, this is just one disaster on top of another.”