Drought-hit Alberta cattle rescued from flooded pastures

Image copyright Jason De Nave / Facebook Image caption There are around 40,000 cows in drought-affected southern Alberta

Canadian farmers have been pulling hundreds of cows out of flooded pastures after a month’s worth of rain in two days.

Rescuers from Alberta beef state party have assisted in five near-drowning rescues, and helped 27 others out by force of will.

Many of those cows had not been able to walk in the flooded pasture since floods washed through in March.

They are the third great flood of the century to hit the Canadian province.

Image copyright Jason De Nave / Facebook Image caption

The biggest flood happened in June 2015, and killed dozens of people, left thousands homeless and destroyed hundreds of homes.

The latest flood came after almost a month of drier than average weather brought on by El Niño, which sees the Pacific Ocean heating up and bringing an increase in rainfall across the globe.

The rain began falling in earnest on Saturday.

Image copyright Jason De Nave / Facebook Image caption The calves were rescued in a neighbouring paddock

The flood has washed out roads and bridges and meant residents in the flood-stricken Alberta towns of High River and Canmore are unable to get back to their homes.

About 1,200 people have been evacuated from flooded communities, while about 70,000 have been evacuated from their farms.

More than 60,000 head of cattle have drowned, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

“You lose everything you have and not having any resources at all is the worst part,” Rob Ruedais, a co-ordinator for the Canadian Emergency Response Team, told the BBC.

“The flood could mean the end of you.

“You can see the family business is underwater. They lose all the equipment and the paperwork.”

Image copyright Jason De Nave / Facebook Image caption The volunteers posted pictures of the rescued calves on Facebook

Around 40,000 of those in the province are affected by the drought that has ravaged crops and cut production by 30% in the past three years.

The situation was worsened by the floods last year.

Officials are now preparing for the possibility of a second flood.

“The rain and the lake are just waiting for each other,” Kelli Farrell, a spokesman for the wildfire-ravaged town of High River, told Reuters.

“We are just waiting for the formation of Lake Elbow to create the big lake and the likes of Lake Athabasca.”

About 35,000 animals are in the path of the floodwaters.

“Without people like you it just wouldn’t be happening,” Duane Keerema, one of the rescuers, told the BBC.

“We have an uphill struggle, but we are going to get through this.”

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