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Former Hay River resident caught in Australian flooding

A longtime Hay River resident living in Australia is seeking help as she and her family recover from devastating floods in late February.
Nancy Grimm, a former Hay River resident, and her family leave behind their flooded Australian home with their pets in February. Photo courtesy of Heather Bassett

A longtime Hay River resident living in Australia is seeking help as she and her family recover from devastating floods in late February.

Nancy Grimm, 42, grew up in Hay River and graduated from Diamond Jenness School in 1998.

She has been residing in Australia since 2000.

She currently lives on a farm in the small village of Cordington, just outside of Coraki, which was ravaged by floods on Feb. 28.

Grimm’s friends Heather Bassett in Fort Saskatchewan and Niada Monkman in Hay River have been raising money to cover flood-related damages through a GoFundMe page.

“On Feb. 25 (Nancy and her family) had flooding, which came up pretty fast and wiped out everything,” Bassett said. “Water went all the way up to the roof of their home and roofs of everything. Even their kids’ school was put up on cement planks because there was such crazy amounts of water.”

Grimm, her husband Daniel and their three children were forced to evacuate to a State Emergency Service rescue unit, where they are currently staying with other homeless families from the region.

They were able to take very few possessions beyond three changes of clothes, some electronics, their pets and their family vehicle.

“Everything is gone because water went up to the roof,” Bassett said. “Anything that may have been salvaged in the home is contaminated because of the toxicity of the water, so they won’t be able to get anything.”

Road access to the location has been extremely limited and Australian media outlets have reported that food, fuel, fresh drinking water and other supplies have been dwindling.

Furniture and garbage are scattered about and the stench of sewage and other strong odours have been widely reported.

“There’s a lot of people just camped along on the roads and stuff on these little islands that they’re trapped on, basically,” Bassett explained.

She said Grimm’s family has helped more than 200 other families suffering from the flood as they also volunteer at the rescue units.

As of March 16, Bassett and Monkman had raised close to $13,000 toward a $16,000 GoFundMe goal.

“The family really has a huge road ahead of them because you don’t get any insurance for flooding,” Bassett explained. “They might be able to own the land that they have, which is a farm, but they probably won’t be covered for anything else. They won’t have a house or anything.”

Bassett said the situation is putting a mental strain on the family as they are feeling overwhelmed and want to come home to Canada to see family after being apart because of Covid.

“Any little amount would help, it doesn’t have to be big amounts,” Bassett said of donations. “It all adds up in the end. If everybody put in two bucks it could make a big difference.”

Many longtime residents of Hay River will remember educators Peter and Carol Grimm, Nancy’s parents, having served at Harry Camsell School for years. They now reside in Fort Saskatchewan and are receiving any donations that can be provided.

People interested in helping the family can donate to the GoFundMe page at

For those not comfortable sending money online, Niada Monkman is collecting donations at Rings’s Drug Store that will be sent to the family.