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Alberta’s flood recovery cost put at $1 billion

CALGARY, Alberta – Alberta’s premier pledged $1 billion on Monday to help people recover from floods that devastated parts of the western Canadian province.

The money will be used to support those who have been evacuated, run relief centers and start rebuilding, Premier Alison Redford said.

Three bodies have been recovered since the flooding began last Thursday in southern Alberta.

The government said it will provide pre-loaded debit cards to displaced residents to help with their immediate housing needs and day-to-day purchases. Those who qualify will receive $1,250 per adult and $500 per child.

Redford said the unforeseen expense means oil-rich Alberta won’t meet its plans to balance the budget in the coming years.

“The world changed Thursday morning and I think as a Treasury Board we’ve come to terms with that. We think Albertans have come to terms with that,” Redford said. “This is like nothing we have ever faced before and we are up to the challenge.”

Redford said the rebuilding could take 10 years.

“I don’t want to scare people. But when we talk about what’s going to happen, we’re talking about a 10-year plan,” she said.