In June 2013, Southern Alberta was hit by what has been termed as a flood of the century, causing the evacuation of well over 100,000 people, devastating homes and businesses, and with little regard for the longer term damage to many thousands of families. With this as the backdrop, exceptional leadership by Mayor Naheed Kurban Nenshi and his team on Calgary City Council, an enabling environment created by all levels of government, and a vibrant and powerful civil society, the entire region is well on its way to recovery.
While there are numerous stories of neighbours helping neighbours, the example of Anil Karim and Fahranaz (Farrah) Khoja are particularly noteworthy. With their spirit of community and Ismaili Muslim ethical underpinnings, they first led the charge with #MissionPossible, mobilizing thousands of volunteers who have helped clean-up hundreds of homes in Calgary, and now, at the request of the Government of Alberta, are taking their energy to the town of High River, their efforts re-branded as #MissionPossible2.
The full story will come out over months and days, but in the mean-time, here are a few examples from twitter and the media:
Danielle Smith, Leader of the Official Opposition (provincial) and Member of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly, via CBC radio’s Homestretch :
“The group #MissionPossible who did the work in Calgary – they managed to corral about 6,000 volunteers to clean-up 900 homes in four days. That same groups has moved their operation to High River, and the orzanizers, Anil and Fahranaz, are looking forward to trying attracting the same number of volunteers to try and help out with High River …”
Joan Crockatt, Member of Canada’s Parliament, via Twitter :
“ALL #yyc (Calgary) thanks #MissionPossible uber #yyvflood heroes … Anil Karim & [Farrah]”
Office of Tom Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition (federal) and Member of Canada’s Parliament, via Twitter :
“Amazing work by @kidsUCanada [Anil Karim] in encouraging volunteers to come out & help High River #missionpossible”
Excerpt from the Calgary Herald :
Volunteers from across Alberta began arriving early in the morning to two staging areas in High River, including a contingent from Calgary as part of Mission Possible 2, a group that previously helped flooded Calgarians.
By 1 p.m., more than 700 volunteers had arrived in High River and more were expected throughout the day, said organizer Farrah Khoja.
“We’re just people who started in a basement,” Khoja said, adding that up to 4,000 volunteers are expected to pitch in as the cleanup drags on.
CBC radio’s Homestretch
Calgary Herald: Now comes the cleanup as High River residents head back (with photos)
Twitter campaign: MissionPossible – Twitter Campaign: MissionPossible2
Anil Karim on Twitter – Farrah Khoja on Twitter