A major cleanup is underway in Sussex, NB, as dumpsters are packed after Thursday's flood.

"I woke up around 11 am when red lights lit at my window and I knocked on my door. This is the local fire department that ordered everyone to evacuate, "said resident Larry Sommerville.

Residents are still shocked by the event.

"This house was considered an island, it was completely surrounded by water," said Alysen Drury. "We had water coming in through the windows of our basement and, for the moment, it left a mess completely muddy."

At worst, the streets of the city looked like a river.

"I watched my trash cans float on the road," said Drury.

Somerville said it was like there was another river running through the city.

"There were tires, trees, icebergs – everything was flowing in my house," Somerville said.

A meeting was held Monday in Sussex to determine how best to react if this were to happen again.

"We were about to knock on doors when we might have had to use a boat," said Scott Hatcher, managing director of Sussex's administration.

Dawn-Marie Pattinger has been hit by three floods since her move a year ago. Her basement has been seriously damaged and she is tired.

"We have about three to four feet of water in our basement," said Pattinger. "We've lost freezers full of food, boxes of products, pictures, basically things we can not replace."

The city says it follows the data to better predict future floods.

"We have installed electronic monitoring devices in the river so we can better respond," said Hatcher.

Residents claim that not only has the flood been a major drawback, but that now that the streets and their driveways are completely frozen, it also represents a security risk.

The ice has completely invaded the backyard of some residents near the river, while ice cubes the size of a small child have formed.

Heaps of garbage are piling up around the city and worried residents are facing the consequences.

"It's a mess – a mess," said Pattinger. "I stayed all day there and I may have a corner."

Twelve people are still in the custody of the Red Cross. That number has gone up from 38 and those who have gone home pick up the pieces.

With files from Kate Walker of CTV Atlantic.