Every newscast recently seems to make floods its lead story. Floods in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick. Less recently, floods in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe. Largely unpublicized, floods in Iran and South Africa.
Understandably, some residents resent having their floods described as “once in a century.”
“That’s what they told us last year,” grumbled a resident of New Brunswick’s St. John River valley. “Now we’re having another hundred-year flood this year.”
I have some sympathy for those people piling sandbags to protect their property. I did it myself, once – but never, I hasten to admit, year after year.
I was still at university. A group of us sat around the common room of our student residence. Someone stuck his head in the door and said, “Hey! The Seymour River’s flooding. They’re calling for volunteers.”
In the pelting rain — which was not easing the flood threat — we worked through the night. We waded through water above our ankles. The rain plastered our hair to our heads, dripped off our noses, fogged our glasses, soaked through our light jackets.
But we kept working until the army relieved us about 3:00 a.m.