Floods in British Columbia: four people missing after mudslides

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RCMP said they received four reports of people missing since a landslide on a highway in British Columbia on Monday.

RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said reports relate to the massive mudslide on Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lilooet.

One death has been confirmed in the mudslide.

SIKH COMMUNITY HELICOPTER TO DELIVER FOOD

Members of the Sikh community in Surrey, British Columbia, gathered during the province’s flood crisis to prepare thousands of meals for starving victims while chartering a helicopter at their own expense to deliver food to communities isolated.

A brigade of people, young and old, spent time preparing 3,000 meals a day in the kitchen of the town’s Dukh Nivaran Sahib Gurdwara, while a constant stream of donated supplies circulated through the place of worship.

With many highways closed and access to flood-affected communities limited, paying for private helicopter service seemed like the only way to get goods to those who needed them most.

“So many people are stuck there and they don’t have food,” Gurdwara chairman Narinder Singh Walia told CTV News. “We try to reach them with food, blankets and other things.”

Walia said the group planned to hire a plane on Thursday to deliver supplies to Merritt and Kamloops.

They are asking anyone who wishes to help by donating groceries to drop them off at the gurdwara at 15255 68th Ave. in Surrey. People can also donate money to help with the cost of flights.

HOUSES CAN BE DESTROYED TO BUILD THE DIGUE

Several houses may need to be destroyed to consolidate a dike and prevent Sumas Grassland from turning into a lake again, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun confirmed Thursday.

Braun told reporters that the dike protecting the area has been broken and a dike should be built as soon as possible.

The largest hole in the dike is about 100 meters long. The city plans to call on the Canadian Armed Forces to help build a two-and-a-half-kilometer dike along Highway 1 starting Friday morning.

Braun estimated that between six and 12 houses would need to be expropriated to complete the project.

“I feel like you’re looking for numbers so I don’t want anyone to think it’s 50 houses,” he said. “A house is too many, and if it was my house I would be worried too. But there aren’t many options here.”

THE CITY SAVES DOZENS OF CATS AND DOGS

Residents of the city of Princeton have opened their homes to 76 cats and dogs in need of a place to stay.

The animals, all rescued stray, were transported to the Lower Mainland over the weekend for adoption when this week’s storm hit. But the convoy only reached Princeton, as floodwaters cut off roads in and out of town, leaving the furry creatures stranded.

Local farmer Bryce Hancock got a call from a friend asking if he could help.

“I went straight to my neighbors, they have a nice big store, and I said, ‘Guys, do you want to go on a crazy adventure with me?’ And they said, “Sure,” he told CTV News Vancouver. “We all unloaded the trucks, got all the animals out, cleaned them up and walked them around.”

Hancock then wrote a post on Facebook asking if anyone would accept the critters.

“In four hours … we had 71 of the 76 animals in temporary, loving homes,” he said. “People just started to introduce themselves, it was like a convoy of trucks and vans and cars, people who wanted to help clean and feed the animals.”

New foster parents will be required to keep the animals until residents of the Lower Mainland can pick up their new pets. Hancock said many Princeton residents have already requested to keep the animals on a permanent basis.

MILITARY RESPONSE

Federal Defense Minister Anita Anand has confirmed that by the end of Thursday, 120 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be on the ground in Abbotsford, B.C. to help deal with the emergency related to the floods.

“Over the next 30 days, and possibly longer if necessary, the Canadian Armed Forces will be there to help the people of British Columbia get through this crisis,” said Anand.

“They can evacuate people to safety, offer assistance to those who are vulnerable, stranded or in distress, support critical provincial supply chains, investigate the impacts of flooding to help BC plan for relief efforts.” relief efforts and help local authorities protect critical infrastructure. “

Up to 350 people are ready to deploy from Edmonton as part of the Immediate Response Unit. There are currently two CAF operated helicopters roaming the area to assess damage.

FUTURE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

An order limiting some non-essential travel as the province recovers from catastrophic flooding and landslides is expected in the coming days, according to Deputy Premier Mike Farnworth.

The government will take advantage of special powers granted by the provincial state of emergency to restrict travel on highways and storm-affected roads that are being gradually reopened in limited capacity.

“Much depends on how the roads are cleared and made available to reopen,” he said. “It could be single lane or alternating traffic, and obviously we want to make sure that the priority is for commercial vehicles, essential traffic – and therefore the restriction would be in place in those particular places.”

Other measures could also be implemented as part of the emergency declaration, Farnworth said, including “possible orders to prevent hoarding, to prevent price hikes, similar to what we had to to do during the COVID-19 emergency ”.

A list of current road closures can be found here.

TRANSPORTS CANADA ISSUES NOTAMS

Transport Canada has also issued a notice to airmen to prohibit all aircraft, including drones, from flying less than 1,000 feet between Abbotsford Airport and Chilliwack Airport until midnight PST Thursday.

The agency is also urging the public to “avoid unnecessary travel” to the Chilliwack airport at this time.

MERRITT’S EVACUATION ORDER CONTINUES

Meanwhile, an evacuation order issued for the town of Merritt on Monday remains in effect.

In a statement released Wednesday, the city’s mayor, Linda Brown, said she had “personally spoken” with Prime Minister Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“They both expressed their thoughts of mourning, their respect for the resilience of Merrittonians and their commitment to the province and the federal government to support the residents of Merritt,” the statement said.

Brown said the city had its support to meet the “immediate and long-term needs” of the communities.

According to Brown, the city’s emergency operations team is now working to bring home residents whose homes were not affected by the flooding, and then will work to allow the “safe return. residents whose homes were flooded “.

“As soon as we can provide potable water and the toilets are flush, we’ll get you home,” Brown said.

Teams are also working to assess roads, bridges and damage to homes across the city.

They also work to clean up debris.

Brown also said there was a “large RCMP contingent in the community,” which worked primarily on rescue operations and on securing and protecting property.

Also on Wednesday, the Houston Street Bridge was reopened after inspection by an engineer. Although officials said the Main Street Bridge remains closed to traffic.

VIA RAIL AND CN HELP BLOCKED EVACUATES

In an email to CTV News, Via Rail said the company worked with Canadian National (CN) on Wednesday evening to “organize an emergency evacuation program.”

Via Rail said Emergency Management BC needed a train to run on CN’s network to transport about 200 stranded people in the Lower Mainland area.

“CN has contacted VIA Rail to have a train evacuate those stranded in Hope, BC,” the email read. “We are really proud to have been able to offer our assistance during this emergency.”

The company said “no further races” were scheduled for Thursday.

With files from Andrew Weichel, Ben Miljure, Ian Holliday, Alissa Thibault and Sarah Turnbull of CTV News, and The Canadian Press


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