Rebuilding after the floods

Published: 5.19.2017
Level 4   |   Time: 1:33
Accent: Canadian
Source: CBC (5.13.2017)

As floodwaters finally subside, residents of the region's hardest-hit neighbourhoods are embarking on the difficult job of cleaning up the mess left behind.


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary / background.
  2. WATCH the video.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers. (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • contaminate [v] - ruin, polute
  • drywall [n] - building material for walls
  • furnace [n] - heater
  • inundate [v] - flood, overwhelm
  • let go [phv] - emotionally detach, to be okay with throwing it out
  • restoration [n] - process of fixing everything, making it good again
  • retain [v] - keep
  • ripe [adj] - ready
  • salvageable [adj] - able to be kept
  • shed [n] - outdoor storage room

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. Ms. McKlusky is dealing with the aftermath of what kind of natural disaster?

  2. How much water filled her house?
    6 centimeters
    6 inches
    6 feet
    6 meters

  3. Which items are salvageable?

  4. How much will the damage cost to repair?

  5. What will happen if her home doesn't get cleaned up quickly?
    It will smell.
    It will affect air quality.
    The property value will decrease.

  6. Why do people need to get rid of their belongings?
    The items have too much water.
    The items are contaminated.
    There is not enough space.

  7. What did she do to prepare for the natural disaster?
    She emptied her basement.
    She built a wall.
    She put her belongings in a shed.

triangle Discuss / Consider

  1. Can natural disasters ever be a good thing?
  2. What is the responsibility of the government before, during, and after natural disasters hit?
  3. What is the responsibility of ordinary citizens before, during, and after natural disasters hit?
  4. Why do natural disasters seem to affect poor people the most?

triangle Script

Ruth McKlusky feels uneasy at her home. Her property is flooded. What she’s seeing floating around her front yard is a concern.

My stomach is flipping, and it’s gross. I mean it’s unimaginable, actually.

Water crashed over her six-foot retaining wall during the flooding. It filled her basement with 6 inches of water. Through her insurance, she called crews to start cleaning up the mess as quickly as possible. She’s worried about contaminated water floating around her house.

It’s going to start to smell pretty ripe, pretty soon. Um, I’m worried about air quality.

Restoration companies are inundated with calls. They’re seeing flooded basements, broken furnaces, hot water tanks, and toilets that are no longer working.

It’s pretty much a disaster in most people’s homes right now.

And the reality is, not much can be saved.

Anything the water has touched, your couch, your bed, your furniture, your bookshelf, it’s non-restorable. It’s non-salvageable.

The city of Ottawa is warning about the risk of contamination from floodwaters.

One of the things we know is that the furniture that’s in the house will be contaminated, and they need to remove it. Some people have difficulty letting go of some of their possessions, and we need to get things out of their house for their own safety.

McKlusky put all of her belongings in her shed before the flood hit, but right now there’s too much water, so she can’t check to see if her family’s stuff is dry. Even though she’s covered by insurance, this flood will still cost her. Her insurance company is willing to pay up to $30,000, but all this damage could cost double.

Now, there will likely be a lot of people doing this work themselves if they don’t have insurance. This company is warning people to be careful. Wear safety equipment, and make sure you know that if you are tearing out things like drywall that there could be electrical wires behind it.


Ashley Burke, CBC News, Constance Bay

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