Risk of further harm to northeast Calgary homes damaged in June hail storm

More than $1 billion in damages was done in the June storm - but what if it's not fixed before the winter?

Homes in northeast Calgary were battered by a June 13 hailstorm. ANOSHA KHAN / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Hail and flood damage left in disrepair in Calgary’s northeast could have longer term ramifications, says a city contractor.

A devastating hail storm hit Calgary on June 13, causing more than $1 billion insured damages.

Many of the affected residents were left between a rock and hard place – repair the damage or risk further damage with more adverse weather or the onset of winter. Many have said with the loss of jobs and income during COVID-19, they’re unable to pay their deductibles.

More than 70,000 insurance claims have been made.

Community leader Khalil Karbani stated in a letter of a plea for relief that community members were out of work due to COVID-19 making it difficult to pay for the repair.

Further heavy rainfall or repairs lapsing into winter could pose more problems. The building envelope of many homes is damaged.

We asked Steve Kee from the Insurance Bureau of Canada if residents would be covered if the June flooding and hail damage worsens in the winter because people are unable to pay today.

“It’s a matter of a lot of work is being done in a way, in terms of the people who may not have had this type of coverage,” said Kee.

He provided no further specifics on the matter.

Area contractor said identifying and fixing the issues is crucial

Farhan Piracha is a local contractor who’s been working in the affected areas in Calgary for the past few weeks. He said discovering a water leak in your home is critical.

However, water leaks can remain hidden for quite some time, he said. The first step having the leak repaired is discovering the problem in the first place.

Odours, discoloration in the walls, and even sagging walls or ceiling, Piracha said these are all indications of a leak.

“It’s a heavy process that can take weeks to complete. We need to remove the water, dry out space, and disinfect any areas or surfaces touched by the water,” said Piracha.

Then comes the process of removing drywall and flooring. Piracha said this may not be immediately obvious, but the extra weight of the water can impact a home’s foundation.

Above all, failure to clean up after flooding your home will establish ideal conditions for growing mold which can lead to illness. For certain people, mold can be unpleasant, even harmful.

Piracha says that mold takes a few weeks to show, which is why the affected resident must be alert of signs of flooding in their homes.

“Common procedure is to tear off all the waterline wall surface and a protective gap to diffuse the fungi, spray the hardwood with an anti-fungal cleaning solution, and then reconstruct the wall over the sprayed surfaces,” said Piracha.

Piracha emphasized the importance of a sump pump. Investing in a sump pump costing a couple of hundreds of dollars is better than repairing flooding damages.

“A sump pump is a device designed to avoid water in the basement. Sump pumps are built beneath the basement floor to gather groundwater before it starts to flood your house,” said Piracha.

Northeast residents still wanting aid

Karbani, who leads a group of northeast Calgary residents asking for more aid said they’re being ignored by the government.

A caravan of vehicles made its way to the legislature last week, hoping for help. Still, they’ve had little response.  

“If they want to wash their hands off by helping a few individuals to say, ‘oh we’ve done our bit for the disaster relief,’ This is simply not enough,” said Karbani.

He said that the disaster relief program funding is currently only helping 84 people.

Still, the IBC spokesman said residents should be working with insurers to fix the damage.

“Anybody who’s had damage should be checking with their insurer about seeing what options are available for them,” said Kee

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