Montreal Ice Storms





The first ever Canadian Disaster Child Care response was during the Montreal Ice Storms in 1996.  Christian Reformed World Relief Committee sponsored the  qualified and certified volunteers who worked a total of 346 person hours, serving 315 children in the communities of St. Lazare, St. Bruno, St. Hyacinthe, LaColle and St. Jean sur Richeleau.

The volunteers lived at one shelter and provided care at three shelters.  "Our time in Quebec enabled us to fill a need in the communities we worked in.  It helped each of us to grow as individuals and child care providers," says Marlene Mulder, chairperson of Canadian Disaster Child Care Society.

The Montreal Ice Storm, although a difficult time for many, could not be seen as a traumatic disaster. There was no loss of life, and although many basements were flooded, survivors of this disaster were largely able to return to their homes and way of life. Working and living in the shelters where people were housed it was evident that people saw the storm as a large inconvenience, however, many of the children we worked with were very afraid. They were afraid that the lights would out, afraid that they could not go back to their homes, afraid that their toys and pets were not okay, and often could not understand when their parents were upset with them for taking the flashlight and leaving it on until the batteries were dead. At one centre the child care room had no windows so when the power generator frequently stopped, the children were very frightened and began fighting for flashlights. Caregivers turned ‘black-out’ time into a very special game. Only when the power was out could we play our new game of placing a flashlight into a box and playing bean bag toss into the light. We assured the children that we would keep our flashlights near-by and be prepared for the game. The result was that blackouts became a fun time and flash lights were not longer fought over and used continually. Parents and children were happy!

Marlene Mulder managed CDCC responses at the Montreal Ice Storms and Operation Parasol.




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Last modified: 09/08/07

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