Canadian News Apr 28, 2020 6:03 PM EST

Fort McMurray flooding comes close to area's only hospital

A picture was posted to Facebook showing the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre sitting just out of reach of the flooding.

Fort McMurray flooding comes close to area's only hospital
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta
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The flooding that began on Sunday in Fort McMurray has forced many residents out of their homes and is water is now rising near the only hospital.

A picture was posted to Facebook showing the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre standing just beyond reach of the flooding.

So far, around 12,000 residents have had to leave their homes.

An ice jam upstream on the Athabasca River was being monitored by officials for days before the river started to flow back into Fort McMurray filled with ice, according to CBC News.

"The river is jammed up for about 25 kilometres and unfortunately then there is another 10 kilometre jam further up from that," said Environment Minister Jason Nixon on Monday, while he and Premier Jason Kenny looked over the evacuation zone.

He said government officials have no option but to wait for a thaw at this point.

"At this point, the ice jam is so big, there is really no physical tool that we have to stop it so we just have to continue to try to protect the town and property as much as we can and wait for Mother Nature to do its job."

The entire lower side of the town is under mandatory evacuation orders and downtown access was closed on Monday. Residents that have already left the area are not allowed to return.

So far, the Grayling Terrace neighbourhood has not seen mandatory evacuation orders but will lose their gas service today. The residents will not have heat or hot water if they choose to stay in their homes.

The Northern Lights Regional Health Centre is still under voluntary evacuation though it is not believed to be under threat at this point thanks to many who volunteered their time to help. The volunteers worked all night to place sandbags across the eastern side of the property.

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