Operation Lentus is when Canada calls upon its Armed Forces to respond to a natural disaster on home soil.
Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been working tirelessly in South Western BC to rescue the stranded, shore up critical infrastructure to rebuild the supply chain, and much more.
Simultaneously CAF personnel have been deployed to Newfoundland to assist in yet another massive flooding event.
For the past couple of weeks, watching the news has felt suffocating.
As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough already to contend with, a near biblical scale flood takes out all vehicle access to Vancouver and, with it, the primary supply chain route from the Pacific east.
However, in equal measure, it has been profoundly moving to watch Canadian Armed Forces personnel rush in to rescue the stranded, repair critical infrastructure, and bring relief to local responders.
I have felt a humbling mix of relief, pride, and downright awe to watching on the news what the CAF is capable of accomplishing in these types of crises.
Global News reported that Canadian Forces Cormorant helicopters rescued approximately 275 people after mudslides in Agassiz BC buried roads.
I can only imagine how terrified and alone one would feel being trapped in a vehicle for hours, unable to get out of the way as the hills are coming down around you.
It humbles me to see the footage of people as they are rescued—the sense of relief and gratitude on their faces as they look into the faces of those taking significant personal risks to come and get them.
This year CAF personnel have responded to several big crises across the country.
Over the blistering hot summer months, they were in BC, Manitoba, and Ontario to battle wildfires alongside local response crews.
In early August, they were deployed to the Yukon to help with flood mitigation.
In October, they were deployed to the City of Iqaluit, Nunavut, set up Reverse Osmosis Equipment to give residents access to clean water.
Watching the CAF in action during these most recent natural disasters has helped me shift my focus from the anxiety-provoking loss of stuff to the hope-inspiring finding of people.
The Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations to provide help to people affected by the flood. Visit their page to learn more.